Can an employer terminate your employment because of a known medical condition?

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Can an employer terminate your employment because of a known medical condition?

I worked for this company for 6 years. I have known allergies which at times gives me migraine headaches and/or over sleep due to my ears popping making me unable to hear my alarm clock. My new manager of 4 months refuses to hear anything pertaining to my condition and threatens my job every time. Is this a violation of my rights in some way?

Asked on June 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This may be a violation of your rights. The law prohibits discrimination against the disabled; while not every medical condition is a "disability" for this purpose, long-term, chronic, debiliting allergies may qualify. If they do, then the employer can't simply fire you or harass you (e.g. threaten you job), but have to instead make a "reasonable accomodation" if possible. A reasonable accomodation is some change in conditions, schedule, duties, etc. which is "reasonable"--not unduly disruptive or expensive --to the employer to make. What would be reasonable accomodations in this case might involve shift changes, letting you sometimes work from home--it depends on the job, the allergies, etc. From what you write, it would be worthwhile for you to consult with an employment attorney. Good luck.


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