Can I get protection under the ADA if I was fired while in treatment for mental health?

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Can I get protection under the ADA if I was fired while in treatment for mental health?

I was recently beginning to have trouble at work after several horrible life events occurred back to back. I went in for a mental evaluation and was put into an outpatient care program that is being

managed by a case manager. I have been put on medication for my diagnosis of PTSD and BPD and informed my employer of the need to have time off as I got acclimated. I was told this was fine and

that my health was priority. After discussing when I would come back I received a call after my therapy session today from my employer that they had decided to go ahead and fire me so I could prioritize my health. I believe this violates the guidelines of ADA as I am currently under a doctor’s care. I would like legal advice on what my options are in pursuing my old employer for discrimination charges against me.

Asked on March 6, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you wish to bring a discrimination complaint, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): they will listen to you, investigate if they think the matter warrants investigation, and can take action as appropriate. (Note: sometimes they hand the matter off to your state's equal/civil rights agency, to the same  effect.)
However, note the following:
1) Depending on the "trouble at work," they may be able to legally terminate you despite your condition. An employer is not required to retain employees who pose a threat at work (including a threat of liability or lawsuit), who disrupt the workplace, who damage property, or who drive off customers, etc. A "reasonable accommodation" does not include allowing this. You can be terminated in these cases, not for having a condition, but for what you in fact do at work.
2) If you miss work without using FMLA leave or PTO you earned to fully cover the absences, you can be terminated for absenteeism: having a mental health condition or being in treatment does not let you miss work without using vacation, sick or other PTO days you earned, or without your employer being coverd by and you eligible for FMLA leave and actually using such leave.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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