Best Ohio Disability Discrimination Attorney Answer: If I am legally blind but can still perform my job with an accommodation, can I be fired? Is my employer required to investigate if I can perform my job with an accommodation? I want to sue my employer.
Bank of America is an often maligned company, as are most banks in the U.S. However, Bank of America certainly makes it hard on itself when it blatantly skirts anti-employment discrimination laws that are in place to protect the rights of employees with disabilities. Not only did Bank of America’s most recent violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) cause even more bad publicity for the company, but it cost Bank of America $110,000 that it could have used to, say, lower the fees that seem to inundate its customers.
A temporary employee was hired by Bank of America as a data entry worker in one of the bank’s downtown Chicago branches. The temporary employee had a visual impairment, which would normally make data entry difficult. However, the temporary employee could perform the data entry job as long as Bank of America provided an accommodation for his visual impairment. Software exists and is easily attainable that magnifies a computer screen to help those with vision issues.
So end of story, right? Certainly, Bank of America must have just installed the easy and inexpensive software that allowed the employee to perform his job. Unfortunately, since this story is appearing in this employment discrimination blog, Bank of America did none of this. In fact, Bank of America didn’t even bother investigating whether any software existed, how easy it could be obtained or how much the software cost. Instead, upon learning that the employee had a vision impairment, Bank of America summarily wrongfully terminated the employee after exactly one day on the job.
Bank of America’s conduct was patently unlawful. The ADA requires employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. This can include modifying the workplace to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job. The ADA outlaws summarily terminating an employee with a disability without even investigating whether or not an accommodation exists.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all employers as a matter of employment law to make reasonable accommodations for an employee suffering from a disability, unless it results in an undue hardship. The accommodation must enable the employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job. Determined on a case by case basis, undue hardship means an employer action that results in significant difficulty or expense when considering the nature and cost of the accommodation within the context of the employer’s size, resources, nature of the business, and structure of its operation.
How does an employer know that an accommodation creates an undue hardship? Well, the ADA also requires that an employer faces with a disabled employee requesting an accommodation to must engage in what it calls an interactive process to determine if there is a reasonable accommodation of the employee’s disability can be done. Technically, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has defined the interactive process to mean: “an informal, interactive process … [to] identify the precise limitations resulting from the disability and potential reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations.” Practically, this means that the employer is responsible for sitting down with the employee and talking about what accommodations might work.
Certainly, if Bank of America had a thoughtful and thorough investigation and no accommodation existed to allow an employee with a vision impairment to do date entry, then Bank of America’s actions may have been lawful. However, simply firing an employee without even seeing what could be done to ensure the employee could perform his or her job is patently illegal. The result is that BoA, has to pay $110,000, not to mention its attorneys’ fees, to an employee that worked one day.
This brings us to another point, our employment discrimination lawyers often hear the same tired argument from employer’s defense lawyers – your guy only worked two week, or a month, or six months. To which, we always respond, so what? The measure of damages has nothing to do with the length of an employee’s employment. One day and $110,000 further demonstrates that.
If you have a disability that makes performing your job difficult and your employer refuses to help you or outright terminates your employment, then you should immediately contact an employment attorney. A disability does not have to prevent you from finding and keeping employment.
Having to live with a disability is difficult enough without worrying about the effect it may have on your job. If you are disabled or your employer perceives you as being disabled; and you have been fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied wages, or even think that you might need a disability discrimination lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call our Ohio employment law attorneys at 866-797-6040. The best option is not to wait. The Spitz Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment law.
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