Can I be discriminated against discriminate due to my learning disability?

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Can I be discriminated against discriminate due to my learning disability?

I was fired from a job while in training because it was my first time working in the area of the plant. I was doing my job to the best of my ability, I was asking my trainer questions, keeping my work area clean, and offering help when I could. When they fired me they said that it was due to “my inability to learn” and that I “wasn’t cleaning up my work area” and I then told her that I had been cleaning up my work area and that I was training all day. Then she said again “I cannot help that you have an inability to learn and I’m not here to babysit”. Is that discrimination?

Asked on July 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, do you have an actual diagnosed learning disability? That is critical to whether your discriminated against. Some people are slower learners, either generally or of specific tasks/jobs, but do not have a learning disability; without an diagnosed disability, they would most likely not be protected under the anti-discrimination laws.

Second, even if you do have a learning disability, the employer's obligation is only to provide a "reasonable accomodation" to the disability, or to provide some changes in how the job is done, or assistive technology or devices to help you do the job, so long as the cost or disruption of doing so is not too great. If however you simply cannot do the job, even with some accomodations, the employer is not obligated to keep employing you.

If you do have a diagnosed learning disability, it would be worthwhile to consult with an employment law attorney to evaluate whether, under these circumstances, you do have a case.


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