Can I be fired while under the care of a doctor?

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2010

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Can I be fired while under the care of a doctor?

I am currently seeing an endocrinologist for the treatment of Graves’ disease and was terminated for poor work performance issues. People have been telling me that I shouldn’t have gotten terminated since I am not “cured” or sure of my outcome with my Graves’. Is this true?

Asked on October 22, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

An employer cannot fire an employee for being disabled, not if they can make reasonable accomodations to let the employee do the job. That said:

1) Not all illnesses or conditions necessarily count as "disabled"

2) Some reasonable accomodation (some change in duties or schedule) must be possible that will let the employee productively do useful work. If there is no way the employee can work, the employer doesn't need to employ him.

3) Employees are required to give notice of their disability and ask for accomodations; if they don't, then in many cases (except when it's too obvious to miss), the employer is not liable.

4) If the performance issues are unrelated to the condition, the employee can be fired--a bad or unqualified worker is not protected by dint of a disability.

Each situation is different. If you feel you may have been fired improperly, you need to speak with an employment attorney who can evaluate your unique circumstances and let you know if you seem to have a case.

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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