Disability and Illness at Work

The law protects you if you have health issues.

Many employees have health issues and could be considered disabled under the law. Those employees are protected by federal or state laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Kansas Act Against Discrimination (KAAD) and have legal rights. We can help you determine if you are protected by these laws. The law prevents an employer from discriminating or retaliating against you because of a disability. Depending on the job duties and your physical restrictions, your employers may be required to make reasonable accommodations to allow you to work. These protections are not automatic so you should seek legal advice.

What is disabled?

Under the ADA, in order to have a disability, you must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Do you have trouble caring for yourself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, or working? You may be disabled. Do you have problems with your immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, and endocrine and reproductive functions? You may be disabled. Another category of being disabled is just having a record or past documentation of a physical or mental impairment. Also, sometimes it is enough if your employer simply regards you as disabled. You may need the assistance of an attorney to prove you are disabled.

Reasonable Accommodation

Laws like the ADA protect against discrimination but also require employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees with disabilities to work. These protections are not automatic, so you should seek legal advice.

The Hiring Process

There are laws that prohibit disability discrimination in the hiring process. They are complex and involve things like what and when the employer can ask you about your health issues. There are rules about requesting physical or psychological examinations.

Relationship with a Disabled Person

Were you discriminated against because of your association with a disabled person?

Retaliation

Did your employer take some type of action against you because of your health concerns or being disabled? If your employer retaliated against you or treated you differently because of having a disability, filing a complaint, or opposing something the employer did, you may have a claim for retaliation.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. An example of a reason for the leave would be if you or certain family members have a serious health condition keeping you from working. It also requires that your group health benefits be maintained during the leave. Employers can violate the law by interfering with your leave or retaliating against you. FMLA laws are complex, which means employers sometimes get them wrong and you need legal assistance to determine whether you have a claim.
If your employer is making a decision you don’t agree with based on your health, you should get legal advice. There are steps you must take to be protected. Contact one of the attorneys at Hite, Fanning & Honeyman to find out how. As in most legal claims there are time limitations, so do not hesitate to contact us.

Protect your rights. Call us today.

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