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Discrimination and Working Part-Time on Disability

Posted on May 18, 2015

If you need specific accommodations or were fired because you were working part time disability in OH, you might be able to file a lawsuit against your employer due to wrongful termination. Employers usually do not have the right to discriminate against anyone with a disability, and they must give them reasonable accommodations.

Laws that Cover Disability Discrimination

Both federal and Ohio state laws prohibit discrimination of employees due to a disability. Federal legislation addresses your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act for a business with a minimum of 15 employees. Ohio laws encompass businesses that have at least four employees. You are also entitled to take time off work under the law.

Defining Disability

A disability means a physical or mental impairment that impedes at least one major life activity, such as walking, seeing, learning, breathing, hearing, speaking, performing manual tasks and caring for yourself. In addition, if your bodily functions, such as your immune, digestive, neurological, endocrine or other systems, do not work properly, you likely qualify as disabled. The law also prohibits discrimination against you based on a real or supposed disability, such as a previous heart attack or because you use a wheelchair. If you can perform your job duties, either with or without reasonable accommodations, your employer cannot make decisions about your job based on your disability.

Reasonable Workplace Accommodations

Reasonable workplace accommodations for individuals with disabilities might include physical changes or help with the job. Under both federal and state law, your employer must grant you these accommodations. However, you must ask for the accommodation. Your employer does not need to give you the specific accommodation but must work with you to try to figure out some type of alternative. For further insight on negotiating accommodations with your employer, contact our disability lawyer in Cleveland.

Time Off Work

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, you have the right to take off as much as 12 weeks of work for serious health matters if you work for a company with at least 50 employees. For example, you might need to take leave due to doctors’ appointments, therapy, treatment or surgery. In other cases, you might be allowed to request leave as a reasonable accommodation. The courts will consider how much time off you want to take, what your job duties are and similar requests made from someone who does not have a disability. However, you will likely not be allowed to have unlimited time off, and you will need to set a specific date for your return to work.

Case Scenarios for Disability Discrimination

You might have a valid lawsuit in the following situations:

  • You were fired due to stereotypes about a disability
  • Your boss made fun of your disability
  • You disclosed your disability and were subsequently fired
  • Your boss would not talk to you about reasonable accommodations or
  • Your boss has higher expectations for you than for someone who does not have a disability.

What to Do If You Were Fired Due to Your Disability

If you were working part-time on disability and were fired, you could have a legitimate lawsuit. You will first need to file a disability discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For state claims, you can also file a charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, although this is not mandatory. You have six months to file a state claim and 300 days to file a federal claim. Although you have six years to file a state claim, you will want to proceed as soon as possible so that you remember more about the claim and so that employees are still with the company. In federal cases, you can request a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC, and then you need to file the lawsuit within 90 days.

Wrongful Termination Damages in Disability Cases

You can ask the court to order your reinstatement to your old job although this is not common. Usually, you would not want to return there after all of the challenges of the case. Another alternative is to request financial compensation, such as:

  • Lost back earnings
  • Lost future income
  • Expenses for a job search
  • Lawyer fees and related costs
  • Emotional anguish and
  • Punitive sanctions.

The ADA places a maximum cap on how much a company must pay, which depends on the company size and is between $50,000 and $300,000. While the state justice system used to permit unlimited damages, tort reform laws have lowered these maximums. The Ohio Supreme Court has not yet decided if these caps apply to discrimination lawsuits, so talk with a seasoned employment attorney for further information.

Call Our Disability Lawyer in Cleveland at (216) 896-0935

If you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination while working part-time on disability, contact the John Paul Oreh Law Office for assistance.

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