Can I Be Fired or Refused a Job Because of a Health Condition?

Disability Discrimination Lawyers Serving New York City Residents

At Phillips & Associates, our New York City disability discrimination attorneys provide aggressive, experienced representation to people who have been fired or refused a job due to a health condition. Federal, state, and local laws prohibit disability discrimination in New York workplaces. This misconduct occurs when an employer or prospective employer treats a covered individual unfairly in the workplace, due to a disability or health condition, Illnesses that could give rise to a claim include cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, mental illnesses, post-traumatic stress syndrome (“PTSD”) and heart conditions. There are many other physical or mental conditions that may be considered a disability. It’s important to note that a transitory illness may not be considered a disability. Call Phillips & Associates at (866) 229-9441 for a free consultation.

Harassment Based on a Disability

Discrimination can include derogatory or offensive comments. If you are being teased continually by your supervisors or co-workers about your disability it may create a hostile work environment. Refusing an employee's request for time off to get medical treatment, failing to provide accommodations, firing an employee, or refusing to give a job to a qualified candidate because of a medical condition can also be disability discrimination.

Can I Be Fired or Refused a Job Because of a Health Condition?

You may have a claim if you were fired or refused a job due to a health condition. A health condition can be considered a disability under several different laws, and firing or failing to hire someone who can do the job simply because of a medical issue is prohibited misconduct. You are also protected from discrimination and wrongful termination based on your relationship with someone who has a medical condition. Examples include:

  • You are fired after you tell your boss you need to have an operation related to your disability.
  • You have a heart attack and are fired shortly after.
  • You have epilepsy and are fired shortly after having a seizure.
  • Your supervisor finds out you have HIV and are terminated.
  • You have cancer and your employer fires you. Additionally, an employer cannot refuse to hire
  • you because your spouse has cancer.

Laws in New York That Protect Employees Against Disability Discrimination

Under Federal law, Disability discrimination occurs when an employer that is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the amended Rehabilitation Act treats a qualified disabled individual unfavorably in any aspect of employment due to the disability. The New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL’) and the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL’) also protects its employees against disability discrimination.

Can I Be Fired Based on a History of a Disability?

In addition to firing or failing to hire, discrimination may occur if an employer or entity covered by the applicable anti-discrimination law treats an employee or job applicant less favorably, due to a history of a particular medical condition or because the individual is believed to be impaired in a way that is not transitory or minor.

Reasonable Accommodations

By law, an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees or job applicants. A reasonable accommodation is a change in a work environment to help someone with a medical condition apply for a job, perform job duties, or enjoy the benefits of employment. It can include, for example, giving an employee time off or different work hours so that he or she can get chemotherapy or other necessary medical treatments. While the anti-discrimination statutes do not require an employer to accommodate you for having to care for a family member with a medical condition, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may require a covered employer to provide you with leave to do so.

The only exception to the rule of providing reasonable accommodations is that an employer need not do so if it would cause the employer to suffer an undue hardship. This is an accommodation that is too expensive or difficult to provide in the context of an employer's financial resources, needs, and size. However, an employer may not refuse to provide the accommodation (or refuse you a job or fire you for needing the accommodation) simply because it involves some expense.

Contact a New York City Attorney for Your Disability Discrimination Claim

An employer is not allowed to ask you medical questions or require you to take a medical examination before offering you a job. The New York City disability discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates offer tenacious, knowledgeable representation to victims of workplace misconduct. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation. Our discrimination and wrongful termination attorneys represent employees throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester.

Related Posts
  • An Amazon Worker Fired Three Weeks After Complaining About Discrimination is Allowed to Pursue Her Retaliation Case Read More
  • Greg Kirschenbaum discusses 'Disability in the Workplace' with Lawyer Monthly Magazine Read More
  • COVID-19, Work-from-Home Privileges, and Employment Discrimination Law in New York Read More