Can I sue my former employer if was terminated possibly due to issues arising from a disability?

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Can I sue my former employer if was terminated possibly due to issues arising from a disability?

I was terminated from my job a few weeks ago and was told thatit was due to performance; I had not been warned prior to being terminated. I also was diagnosed with ADD last year. I notified my direct supervisor soon after via e-mail. We had a verbal discussion in regards to my ADD. When I was terminated, I asked the companies lawyers if my “disability” was noted in my file. He was shocked to find out that it was not noted; they had no idea at the time I was terminated. I have been turned away from 3 different legal offices due to “conflict of interest”. I am just wondering if I have a case.

Asked on June 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you were truly fired due to a disability, then you may have a case. There are several hurdles though to overcome:

1) Is your ADD a disability? Not all conditions are--to be a disability for this purpose, there must be a pervasive (always or almost always occuring), significant impact on ordinary life functions. It is not clear that ADD always qualifies.

2) Even if your ADD is serious enough to qualify as a disability for this purpose, can you prove it exists--i.e. what medical evidence do you have?

3) An employer's obligation is to provide a "reasonable accomodation," which is a change in how a job is done or the provision of assistive devices or technology which will allow you to do the job, and which are not too expensive or disruptive to the employer. If there was no way to accomodate you ADD and it was impacting your job in a significant way, they may have been able to terminate you.

4) If you did have performance issues, then even if they were not documented before, IF they were legitimate, you could be terminated for them--the law does not specifically require warnings before termination, though they are often a good idea.

So you could have a case, but you need the evidence in your favor: serious enough ADD, evidence of the ADD, the fact that with accomodations you could do the job, and no real performance issues. You should continue trying to find an attorney to discuss the case in detail with you.


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