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

UPDATED: Jun 2, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

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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