Can an employer not hire you because of a chronic illness?

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2012

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Can an employer not hire you because of a chronic illness?

I am a current seasonal employee and my employer is keeping the position and turning it into a part time non seasonal. I was told I only had to go through the motions but that because i was already doing the job it was mine. Now I am being told that due to a chronic illness that I had to take off a few weeks of work for (covered by FMLA) they will not hire me. Would this be a violation of the ADA?

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

FMLA does not usually apply to non full time applicants who work for employers who would not qualify to require coverage under FMLA. Check with your state labor department regarding this issue. If you cannot do your job, the employer can fire you though it cannot discriminate on medical matters directly. This is a tricky situation. If you are not recognized under the ADA (your illness is not recognized by the ADA), then you are probably out of luck and should consider at least applying for unemployment while this is sorted out. The question does become however if this was a fiscal move on the part of the employer for cash flow reasons or if it has to do with your illness. A deciding factor here may be whether you have had this chronic illness while you worked full time for the company.

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 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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