What are my rights if I am being replaced by some who has to have a job accommodation due to their disability?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are my rights if I am being replaced by some who has to have a job accommodation due to their disability?

My employer brought in a part-time worker who I have to train. I am an “as needed” employee, known as PRN. This new part-time worker will essentially replace me eliminating my job. I found out this week that her position is going to be permanent. No notice of this new permanent position was announced the position never existed before. I was told that HR placed this worker in our department as a courtesy to her because of an alleged disabilty and she threatened to sue the hospital unless she was accommodated. I would have jumped at the chance to take a permanent position. I am in good standing and have always had exemplary job reviews but am being elbowed out of a job. This reeks of unequal and preferntial treatment of employees.

Asked on September 19, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you probably have no legal recourse in this situation. The reason is that most employment relationships are "at will". This means that an employer can set the terms and conditons of the workplace much as it sees fit with few exceptions. Accordingly, an employer can hire and fire with or without notice.
That having been said, as stated above, there are exceptions. So for example, if your treatment violated exisiting company policy or the terms of a union/collective bargaining agreement or emplyment contract, you may have a claim. Also, if your employer's action was the result of employment discrimination or retaliation, that would be illegal.
However, based on the fact presented, this does not appear to be the case. The fact is that not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. The only time discrimination is actionable is if an employee is being treated due to their being a member of a "protected class". This means that they must be receiving different based on their age, race, religion, nationality, disability, gender or sexual orientation. Otherwise, differences in treatment are perfectily permissable.

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