Do I have a case if my employer ignored my medical restrictions?

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Do I have a case if my employer ignored my medical restrictions?

My old employer was informed that due to a medical condition and a previous hospitalization, that I wasn’t allowed to lift heavy objects. Yet, they sent me to take care of a client who was 300 plus pounds and who was wheel chair bound. Upon doing so, my medical condition came back and I had to go to the hospital but was made to sit at the client;s home for almost an hour before they sent someone to cover my shift.

Asked on April 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A worker must be able to perform all essential duties of their job; they can be terminated if they have a medical restriction which prevents then from doing so. Therefore, if lifting was such a duty, then ex-your employer could ask you to lift. Under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) an employer need only make a "reasonable accomodation" regarding an employee's job functions. So, for example, if you were a cashier and giving you a stool would enable you to work with your physical limitations, then your employer would have to give provide one for you. However, here there appears to have been no way to reach such an accomodation.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You write you were sent to take care of a client. If that is your job (e.g. you are home health aide or worker), then lifting, supporting, etc. adults is a core part of your job. If that is the case, then your employer could ignore your medical restriction: while an employer must make "reasonable accommodations" to an employee medical condition, a reasonable accommodation is one that enables the employee to still due core aspects of his or her job. That means they could send you to assist or take care of a wheelchair bound client, because that is your job; you cannot have your job if you can't help lift, etc. adults.


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