Medical Condition Discrimination in the Workplace
Medical Condition Discrimination Targets Employees in the Workplace due to Disabilities, Pregnancy, and Genetic Information.
Medical condition discrimination is a form of disability discrimination. When your employer targets you due to past, present, and possible medical conditions, they violate your rights under the law. It is illegal to make employment decisions or retaliate against employees relating to hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, training, and job assignments based on medical conditions. This type of discrimination is prohibited in the workplace by federal and state laws.
If you’ve experienced any kind of medical condition discrimination at work, you have the right to fight for justice. Our disability discrimination attorneys have over 25 years of experience fighting for employee rights and can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact Derek Smith Law Group today to speak with an attorney about your potential case.
What Is Discrimination Based on Medical Conditions?
What Are Some Common Medical Conditions?
Some examples of medical conditions used in medical condition discrimination include, but are not limited to:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Hearing or sight impairment
- Muscular dystrophy
- Loss of limbs
What Are Some Examples of Discrimination Based on Medical Conditions?
Employers have a history of looking at people and making snap judgments, despite their best efforts to be fair. These judgments affect people with disabilities as much as people of different races, genders, nationalities, and more. When an employer sees or learns of an employee’s medical condition, he may make a snap judgment. This snap judgment can lead to a claim for discrimination.
Some examples of this type of discrimination include, but are not limited to:
- Your employer fired you from work once he learned you have HIV.
- Your boss refuses your medical leave to go to your chemo appointments.
- Your manager demotes you while you are on leave in the hospital. You just had a stroke.
- Your supervisor refuses to let you go on your break. He knows you need to take your insulin during this five-minute break. He says people with diabetes are just lazy people, and you can wait.
- Your supervisor refuses to get you a larger computer screen. You repeatedly told him you need a larger screen because your eyesight is bad.
- Your employer denied you a raise because you are deaf.
- A company refused to hire you because they do not want anyone in a wheelchair working for them.
- Your boss fires you as soon as he learns of your MS diagnosis.
- Your employer denies you company health insurance because he knows you have high blood pressure and other health-related issues.
- Your employer fires you from work because you discuss your family history of cancer with him. He thinks you will have to stop working because you will get cancer too.
- Your boss refuses to provide reasonable accommodations during your pregnancy.
- Your coworkers harass you because you are in a wheelchair.
Do Laws Protect You from Medical Conditions Discrimination in the Workplace?
Several federal and state laws protect you from medical conditions discrimination in the workplace. The discrimination may result from a covered disability, pregnancy, a known family medical history, or the need for FMLA leave.
How Do Disability Laws Protect Employees from Medical Conditions Discrimination?
Under federal law, employees receive protection from disability discrimination in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) prohibits any employer with 15 or more employees from making unfair employment decisions based on a person’s disabilities. These decisions include:
- Salary decisions
- Providing necessary accommodations
- Negative Employment Reviews
How Does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protect Employees from Discrimination Based on Medical Conditions?
Pregnancy is a temporary medical condition. Many times, it requires reasonable accommodations, especially as women enter their third trimester. Pregnancy complications may result in a need for bed rest and extended time off from work. Women may need to attend numerous doctors’ appointments as they progress. Once the baby is born, women will need accommodations to pump at work if they are nursing their babies (as provided under the Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA). The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits any discrimination against women for pregnancy and related medical conditions.
How Does the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Protect Employees from Medical Conditions Discrimination?
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from using family medical histories or genetic testing information to make adverse employment decisions. For instance, you tell your employer that your father was just diagnosed with a heart condition. As a result, your employer immediately puts you on restricted duty. You cannot lift more than 30 lbs. at work or do any long-distance travel.
The restricted duty comes with a pay decrease. You did not request this accommodation because you do not have a heart condition.
How Does the FMLA Prevent Medical Conditions Discrimination?
Another federal law that protects employees with medical conditions from discrimination is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, an employee has the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work to deal with a medical condition. For instance, a person with cancer can take several days a week off from work for chemo and radiation. This law applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
Do State Laws Protect You from Medical Condition Discrimination?
Many states prohibit discrimination against disabled employees. They also offer their own form of family and medical leave to allow you to take time off to heal from a serious injury or illness. Consult a discrimination attorney in your state to determine the laws that protect you from such discrimination.
Do Federal and State Laws Protect You from Being Punished Because You Asked for Accommodations or Respect Due to Your Medical Condition?
Retaliation occurs when an employer punishes you in the workplace because you stood up for your rights or requested reasonable accommodations. Federal and state laws prohibit any forms of retaliation in the workplace. Retaliation includes:
- Wrongful Termination
- Refused Promotions
- Refused Assignments
- Shift Changes
- Denied Accommodations
- Negative Employee Reviews
- Unfounded Write-ups
What Is the Time Limit to File a Claim for Medical Condition Discrimination?
If you have a claim for discrimination under the ADAAA, PDA, or GINA, you can file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC sets a time limit of 180 days to file your charge. However, states with similar disability protection laws can boost the EEOC statute of limitations to 300 days.
If you have a claim under the FMLA, you have two years to file your federal court complaint. You may also choose to file your complaint with the Secretary of Labor.
State courts may offer 180 days to several years to file your claim. Discuss your options with a qualified disability discrimination lawyer to determine the time limit to file your claim.
Can You Receive Money as a Victim of Medical Condition Discrimination?
If you are the victim of medical condition discrimination in the workplace, you deserve compensation. The courts may offer you compensation, such as repayment of lost wages, money for pain and suffering and emotional distress, reimbursement of medical costs and insurance premiums, and legal fees. They may also insist your employer rehire you and change company policies.
How Can an Experienced Discrimination Lawyer Help Your Medical Condition Discrimination Case?
If you are dealing with a medical condition, you already have a lot on your plate. When you add employment discrimination to the mix, you can almost fall apart. Dealing with the discrimination issues can be overwhelming and not fit into your already busy schedule.
An experienced employment discrimination lawyer can help you gather the information and evidence needed to prove your case for medical condition discrimination. They can ensure your case gets filed in the proper court or agency within the correct time limit. With their help, you can focus on any health concerns you may have while they focus on getting you the compensation you rightly deserve.
Contact Our Experienced Medical Condition Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation
Dealing with a medical condition is enough work. You do not need it to affect your ability to work or gain meaningful employment. If you are the victim of medical condition discrimination at work, the Derek Smith Law Group’s experienced discrimination attorneys can help.
Did your boss discriminate or retaliate against you, or did you get fired from work because you have a medical condition or a family history of one? Please Call Us at 800.807.2209 to Learn More About Your Rights.