What should an employee do if they were out due off from work to illness and upon their return the hours were cut and now they may have been terminated?

My mother has worked at a hospital for 8 years. She is 66 years old and 4 months ago she had a health issue that put her out of work. Then 3 weeks ago she went back to work on a part-time schedule for a duration approved by her doctors. After that duration, she tried to go back full-time but her employer wouldn’t allow her to have oxygen at work. The doctors suggested that she work 3 days a week for 3 more weeks but now her employers have put her on per diem status, deleted her work email and haven’t been in contact with her. Does she have a case, especially in regards to her benefits?

Asked on July 20, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

She may have a case: if she has a long-term condition impacting life functions, which she appears to, she may be considered disabled in the eyes of the law, and employers are required to make "reasonable accomodations" for disability and may not discriminate against the disabled. Also, she is over 40, and employers may not discriminate against people because they are over 40. You mother should either contact the state equal/civil rights agency or the federal EEOC to file a complaint; or she should consult in detail with an employment law attorney.

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