I Was Fired After I Requested a Reasonable Accommodation. What Can I Do?

Employment Discrimination Lawyers Representing New York City Residents

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that allows certain workers to ask for a reasonable accommodation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religion as well. State and local laws also permit employees to ask for a reasonable accommodation for disabilities. Below are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions regarding this topic. It is important to consult a New York City employment discrimination attorney about your particular situation after being fired for requesting a reasonable accommodation. Phillips & Associates is an aggressive and knowledgeable law firm that represents workers who have disabilities or need accommodations for other protected reasons.

I Was Fired After I Requested a Reasonable Accommodation. What Can I Do?

You may have a basis to file a lawsuit, depending on the reason why you asked for the reasonable accommodation and the size of your employer, as well as whether your asking for the reasonable accommodation was the reason for your being terminated. Certain state and local laws provide more protection for employees than do federal laws. It is usually your responsibility to ask your employer for a reasonable accommodation if you need it. Although the process of obtaining a reasonable accommodation is similar under these different laws, there may be more protection for workers under local laws.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is an alteration to the workplace, work policies, or workplace procedures, which allows an otherwise qualified worker to do their job. For example, you might need a reasonable accommodation in the form of more frequent rest breaks if you are undergoing treatment for a serious medical condition such as diabetes that requires you to inject yourself. If you suffer from pregnancy-related pubic symphysis, meanwhile, you might need a reasonable accommodation in the form of staying off your feet on the job because you have difficulty walking. A reasonable accommodation for a religion might include a change in shifts due to a religious holiday.

Which Laws Allow Me to Ask for a Reasonable Accommodation?

You can request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if you have a disability, and your employer has at least 15 employees. You can also ask for a reasonable accommodation for religious reasons under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Again, your employer must have at least 15 employees for you to be entitled to ask for the accommodation.

Under the New York State Human Rights Law, you are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for a disability, pregnancy-related condition, or religious reason. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, you are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for a disability, pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Your employer need only have four employees for you to be covered by these laws.

What is an "Undue Hardship"?

An employer can deny your request for a reasonable accommodation if it would present an undue hardship to provide the accommodation. An undue hardship is usually an action that requires significant expense or difficulty based on multiple factors, including the size and resources of the employer, as well as the structure of the employer's operation. For example, if you are a server working at a small restaurant with just four employees, and you ask for a change in job duties because you need to stay off your feet due to a broken leg, this may present too big a challenge for your small employer. However, if you work for a large corporate restaurant with 50 employees, your employer might be able to better accommodate your request.

How can I Prove That I Was Fired Because I Requested a Reasonable Accommodation?

Many larger employers know that they are not allowed to fire you because you asked for a reasonable accommodation, so you may not be told directly that this was the reason for your termination. However, the timing and remarks made by your employer when you asked for the accommodation may tend to show that you were fired because of your request. An experienced attorney may be able to conduct discovery to find more evidence about whether you were fired for engaging in the protected activity of asking for a reasonable accommodation.

Consult a Knowledgeable Discrimination Attorney in New York City

At Phillips & Associates, we may be able to help you if you are concerned about being fired after requesting a reasonable accommodation. We can develop a strategy to pursue damages. Our New York City attorneys fight employment discrimination and harassment in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Westchester County, and New Jersey. Contact us at (866) 229-9441 or through our online form.

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