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Injured on job, work comp, ADA, then termination

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by Nicole Ferguson, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. Nicole Ferguson

    Nicole Ferguson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Long story short, in April, I was injured on my job. I have had 2 surgeries and am facing a third. The nerves in my elbow and hand are damaged, this is also my dominant hand. My job consisted of writing and typing, so my surgeon didn't release me to work as I can't fully perform my job until my nerves are healed.
    I work in a 2 person office in which my employer already had someone in the office to replace me back in June. They called her a "float", meaning that she could go between branches and cover if someone was out. But in the meantime, she was taking my place.
    2 weeks ago I received a call from my boss stating that the company was letting me go because they couldn't accommodate my indefinite leave and that I was causing a hardship on the branch.
    Keep in mind, I am still on workers comp and was also told by HR that my job was safe because I was also covered by ADA (Americans with disability act). Can they legally terminate me???
     
  2. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Very likely yes. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the employer has to provide a reasonable accommodation for your disability to enable you to perform your work at the required level of performance. While in limited circumstances time off from work can be a reasonable accommodation, indefinite leave that lasts for months is very rarely going to be a required accommodation. If in fact having you out is costing the employer some significant problems or cost such that it is an undue hardship on the employer then the employer does not have to provide it. And that is exactly what the employer is claiming here, and considering you work in an office with just 2 people in it, it's not hard to see that having you out for an extended period of time might be a problem

    Worker's comp gives you benefits for the injury, but doesn't not guarantee that the employer will hold your job open.

    You may want to see an attorney who litigates ADA employment claims to see if you have anything to pursue given all the details of your situation. Perhaps some fact you didn't mention here would make a difference. But there is certainly not an obvious ADA violation just based on what you said here.
     
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Yes, they can. While a SHORT leave can be considered a reasonable accommodation, an indefinite leave is not. The point of the ADA is to allow you to be on the job, working, with a reasonable accommodation if necessary; it is not to grant you guaranteed employment regardless of the situation. You have already been out about twice as long as the law requires; they are not obligated to extend it further. This will not affect your workers comp claim.
     

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