Can employment be terminated due to attitude issues caused by an employee’s medications?

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Can employment be terminated due to attitude issues caused by an employee’s medications?

Diagnosed with UC 11/09. On 12/23 I was started on 2new medications. One was predisone which I know can cause attitude issues. During a meeting in 2/10, that I had no prior knowledge of, I made a comment,  “I just love surprise meetings”. I was called to the office and given an Action Plan. I informed them I was taking steroids at that time. Found out in 8/10 that a Action Plan is a final warning. At that time I gave HR a letter from my physician stating I was being treated by her for IBD and that 2 of my meds were directly related to my behavior. I was fired 9/23/10.

Asked on October 5, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with an employment attorney. As a general rule, employers must make reasonable accomodations for employees with disabilities, and such accomodations might include "cutting them some slack" for any behavioral changes caused by their medication or treatment. However, not all diseases or conditions qualify as disabilities for this purpose; also, the employee must give the employee advance warning in the proper way and ask for accomodations; and what consitutes a "reasonable accomodation" is not a hard-and-fast rule, but varies by situation. From what you write, it would be worth a consultation with an employment law attorney (many will provide a free or low-cost initial consultation) to see if, under the unique circumstances of your situation, you might have a cause of action. Good luck.


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