Can my job suspend me without pay for a rash on my neck that was there when they hired me?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can my job suspend me without pay for a rash on my neck that was there when they hired me?

I work in an open kitchen, and I was suspended last Thursday for a rash on my neck (that was their reasoning they gave me). Being suspended I cannot file for unemployment. I have seen my doctor and a specialist over the last few months to get rid of this, with no result. I feel like i’m in limbo right now because I can’t go to work, I can’t file for unemployment, and I can’t quit or I won’t receive unemployment. Can they legally do this to me, and are there any suggestions you may have? I have worked there 6 months.

Asked on June 20, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

They may, unfortunately, be able to do this.

1) If you don't have an employment agreement or contract of some kind, you are an "employee at will." An employee at will may generally be terminated or suspended for any reason that if not discriminatory (see below).

2) Employers may not discriminate against certain protected categories in employment: for example, on the basis of race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability. However:

a) Not all medical conditions are "disabilities"--to be a disability, it must be permanent or long lasting, significantly impede your life or functions, and be largely beyond your control; a rash may well not be.

b) Even if something is a disability, the employer only has to make "reasonable accomodations"; if you work in a kitchen and have a difficult to clear up rash, it may not be reasonable to let you keep working there, since they have to consider health issues for other staff and customers.

Therefore, this may be a situation where you can be suspended more-or-less indefinitely, since you could also have been fired, it would appear.

However, you can't be left in limbo forever; if you are suspended long enough with no timeline or conditions for reinstatement, that may constitute "constructive unemployment" under which you've been effectively fired, and which would let you claim unemployment insurance. You should ideally consult with an employment attorney; if you can't afford one, you should be able to at least contact and ask the question of the labor department or unemployment office. 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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption