What to do if I was just hospitalized for a bad episode of epilepsy and my employer is saying that I cannot return to work unless I have no restrictions?

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What to do if I was just hospitalized for a bad episode of epilepsy and my employer is saying that I cannot return to work unless I have no restrictions?

I have a restriction of not climbing ladders. My employer says they will then have to let me go. Can they do this?

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It depends on your job. A company must make "reasonable accomodations" for employees with disabilities. A reasonable accomodation is a modification of duties or process, or the provision of assistive technology, which is not too costly or disruptive to the employer. For example, a visually impaired employee could be given a computer screen that magnifies words or voice-recognition software; a lobby security guard who cannot stand for prolonged periods might be allowed to sit.

If  your job requires you to climb ladders and you cannot do the job without climbing ladders, they would seem to be able to terminate you--an employer is not required to retain an employee who cannot do the job for which he/she is hired. If climbing ladders is not a part of your job, or is easily circumvented or gotten around, however, then it would seem that they cannot terminate you for not climbing; in this event, if they do terminate you, they may have committed illegal discrimination against the disabled, and you should consult with an employment law attorney.


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