Can I be fired from my job which is a private company with less than 10 employees if I have a chronic illness?

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Can I be fired from my job which is a private company with less than 10 employees if I have a chronic illness?

I developed spinal stenosis and I know
eventually I will have to file for
disability. But I want to work as long as
I can. Can my employer fire me for
slowing down I walk with a cane.
The only work I miss is for dr
appointments. It’s a physically
demanding job but I am trying.

Asked on June 29, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An employer needs to make "reasonable accommodations" to employees with disabilities. When an accommodation stops being "reasonable"--and therefore when the employer no longer needs to make it--depends on the impact of your condition on your job as well as on what your job is. At the point at which you cannot effectively do your job, then the employer can terminate you. There are clearly jobs where that point will never come--walking slow does not impact your ability to do data entry or phone customer service, for example. On the other hand, there are jobs were walking slowly will quickly prevent you from doing them effectively, such as security guard who has to make rounds, someone who "picks" products off racks in warehouses, or tour guide for some leisure activity where you have to show customers around on foot. So the answer is, when you can no longer effectively do your job, that is when the law would allow termination.


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