Can I get fired from a safety-related job after having a seizure at work if I have a lifelong nocturnal seizures and reported this since day 1?

My dismissal letter expressed that the seizure was the reason for dismissal. When I met with my neurologist, it was determined that this was an isolated event caused by dietary change interfering with meds and easy to prevent. I always experience an aura at least 60 minutes prior to the seizure. When I felt the aura before I had the seizure at work, I believed that I would have a seizure while sleeping later that night. The seizure wasn’t treated as a safety issue or an emergency at work. I was allowed to work 2 full shifts following the seizure. I was told med clearance wasn’t needed.

Asked on July 7, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The answer is that it depends on the nature of your job: you say, for example, that it is "safety related." If suffering a seizure at work would potentially put you or other people at risk, your employer may be entitled to terminate you for being prone to such seizures, and such action would not be considered illegal discrimination against the disabled. For example: someone who might have seizures clearly could legally be terminated from, or not be hired for, a job as an operating engineer, a truck driver, a pilot, or a heavy equipment operator. If you believe that your condition could be accomodated at work and does not pose safety hazards, then it would be worth consulting with an employment law attorney to see if you do in fact have a claim for illegal disability-based discrimination.


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