Can I be fired while under the care of a doctor?

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Can I be fired while under the care of a doctor?

I am currently seeing an endocrinologist for the treatment of Graves’ disease and was terminated for poor work performance issues. People have been telling me that I shouldn’t have gotten terminated since I am not “cured” or sure of my outcome with my Graves’. Is this true?

Asked on October 22, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

An employer cannot fire an employee for being disabled, not if they can make reasonable accomodations to let the employee do the job. That said:

1) Not all illnesses or conditions necessarily count as "disabled"

2) Some reasonable accomodation (some change in duties or schedule) must be possible that will let the employee productively do useful work. If there is no way the employee can work, the employer doesn't need to employ him.

3) Employees are required to give notice of their disability and ask for accomodations; if they don't, then in many cases (except when it's too obvious to miss), the employer is not liable.

4) If the performance issues are unrelated to the condition, the employee can be fired--a bad or unqualified worker is not protected by dint of a disability.

Each situation is different. If you feel you may have been fired improperly, you need to speak with an employment attorney who can evaluate your unique circumstances and let you know if you seem to have a case.


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