Can my salary be reduceddue to my disability?

I have a manager who truly gets pleasure yelling at and belittling the “slower, older, and people who have some sort of mental illness”. A couple weeks ago, the day after we had the earthquake, I made the attempt to work (I have anxiety issues with PTSD, and OCD); I was having a hard time coping. This manager asked me what was wrong so I told her. She yelled at me to get over it and grow up. I calmly finished with the customers I had, clocked out, and went home. I called my district manager on my way home to explain the situation; I did not want to lose my job over this. As far as I understand, I was not fired, more suspended, but in order for me to return to work I had to take a pay cut. I have been working there for 7 years and am a valued employee. They were previously aware of my illnesses. They have unfortunately had effect on my job in the past. I explained how the earthquake triggered serious symptoms yet I was making my best effort to work despite them, until I was yelled at. I don’t know what to do; this manager should not be talking to anyone the way she does.

Asked on September 6, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no simple answer to your query; you should discuss the matter with an employment attorney. Some principals: a company may not discriminate against an employee with a disability; however, not discriminating consists merely of providing reasonable acccomodations, such as some change in how a job is done (letting someone sit more, if the job can be done sitting, rather than stand) or some assistive technology (e.g. voice recognition software for those with visual or typing impairment). A reasonable accomodation is not too expensive or disruptive to the employer. If an employee simply cannot do a job, even with some accomodation, however, the employer may be justified in not employing him or her--or in transferring him or her to a job which he or sshe can do (or reducing hours), even if that means a pay cut. Thus, it depends on the circumstances, and you need to discuss those circumstances in detail with an employment attorney.


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