Can I be fired from my job which is a private company with less than 10 employees if I have a chronic illness?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I be fired from my job which is a private company with less than 10 employees if I have a chronic illness?

I developed spinal stenosis and I know
eventually I will have to file for
disability. But I want to work as long as
I can. Can my employer fire me for
slowing down I walk with a cane.
The only work I miss is for dr
appointments. It’s a physically
demanding job but I am trying.

Asked on June 29, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An employer needs to make "reasonable accommodations" to employees with disabilities. When an accommodation stops being "reasonable"--and therefore when the employer no longer needs to make it--depends on the impact of your condition on your job as well as on what your job is. At the point at which you cannot effectively do your job, then the employer can terminate you. There are clearly jobs where that point will never come--walking slow does not impact your ability to do data entry or phone customer service, for example. On the other hand, there are jobs were walking slowly will quickly prevent you from doing them effectively, such as security guard who has to make rounds, someone who "picks" products off racks in warehouses, or tour guide for some leisure activity where you have to show customers around on foot. So the answer is, when you can no longer effectively do your job, that is when the law would allow termination.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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