Can I be terminated after surgery if I cannot return full duty?

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Can I be terminated after surgery if I cannot return full duty?

I had back surgery my FMLA time is up and employer refuses return with any restrictions. My job description states that I must lift up to 100 pounds. I was never required to prove I could due so when hired. It is not my injury restricting this it is my physical strength. I work as a dementia unit coordinator in a personal care home

Asked on February 9, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Regardless of whether you had to prove your ability to left 100 lbs previously or not, if this is a core or key part of the job--for example, if you have to be able to help lift, move, support, or if necessary, restain, patients, and so a certain amount of strength is required--then they can terminate you: the law does not make employers retain employees who can't do essential elements of their jobs.
However, if strength and lifting capacity is not an essential part of your job, then terminating you on this basis is likely a pretext or excuse for illegal disability-based discrimination. If you think that is the case, contact the federal EEOC or your state equal/civil rights agency to file a complaint.


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