Medical Condition Discrimination
Disability Rights Lawyers Representing New York City Workers
Medical condition discrimination occurs when an employee is subject to an employment decision based on a real or perceived medical condition, rather than the quality of their work and their ability to do a job. There are multiple laws that prohibit medical condition discrimination, which require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for conditions that are disabling. However, there is no list of which illnesses are covered. Many people do not realize that medical conditions are treated as disabilities and that they are entitled to protection under the law. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City disability discrimination lawyers may be able to help you recover damages for medical condition discrimination at your job.
Medical Condition Discrimination
Medical conditions are usually protected as disabilities under federal, state, and local laws in New York City. Medical conditions treated as disabilities include pregnancy-related conditions, bipolar disorder, depression, heart conditions, dyslexia, genetic disorders, diabetes, cancer, and Tourette Syndrome. A protected medical condition can be one for which you have a diagnosis and documented medical history, but importantly it can also be one that others perceive you to have.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act
The federal laws that provide protection for people with medical conditions are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act. These laws apply to larger employers. The former makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against you due to a disability. A disability is defined as a mental or physical impairment that significantly limits a major life activity. However, you can also be considered to have a disability under the ADA if you have a record of a medical condition or if your employer perceives you as being impaired. The majority of serious medical conditions meet that definition. The Family and Medical Leave Act protects against discrimination related to medical leave for a medical condition. All covered employers are required to provide job-protected medical leave to employees under particular circumstances.
However, not all employers are covered by either the ADA or the FMLA. The ADA applies to employers that have at least 15 employees. The FMLA applies to people who work at least 1,250 hours each year for companies employing at least 50 employees. If you are incapacitated due to a medical condition, you are supposed to be able to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period, as long as you work for a covered employer.
Although your job is supposed to be protected during that time, some employers take adverse actions against employees when they come back from FMLA leave in retaliation for taking the leave. Your employer is not supposed to penalize you for your FMLA leave, or to deny you leave by making an unfair determination that your medical condition is too minor. In practice, they sometimes do discriminate or retaliate against employees for taking FMLA leave, and in those cases, it may be possible to recover damages by retaining an attorney to file a lawsuit.
Employees of Smaller Companies
People who work for smaller companies may find protection from medical condition discrimination in state or local laws. Both the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law cover smaller employers and prohibit discrimination on the basis of a disability or a pregnancy-related medical condition. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, you are protected from medical condition discrimination as a pregnant employee, even if your condition would not count as a disability.
The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits employers from refusing to give you a reasonable accommodation due to your pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, provided that it knows about the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. The reasonable accommodation is supposed to permit an employee to perform essential job tasks but not cause an undue hardship in how the business is conducted.
Consult an Aggressive New York City Attorney to Protect Your Rights
At Phillips & Associates, we fight employer misconduct in all of its forms, including medical condition discrimination, and we may be able to help you recover damages. We represent workers 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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