Can my employer fire me because I have a medical condition that doesn’t allow me to work in freezer.

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Can my employer fire me because I have a medical condition that doesn’t allow me to work in freezer.

I work at Wholefoods market as order selector I
have a medical condition that doesnt allow me
to be in negative degree temperature. We have
two section meat/frozen and produce they are
firing me for not being able to work in freezer
yet there are other people that don’t get put in
freezer for religious reason as he cant touch
pork. They easily could put me in produce and
That would be that instead they want to fire me
for being disabled.

Asked on August 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If an employee has a disability (which is a medical condition, not easily controlled or remediated, which has a detrimental impact on life activities or quality), then the employer must make a "reasonable accommodation" for him/her. A reasonable accommodation is a change which is not too expensive or disruptive to the employer. Accommodating employees by allowing them to not work in the freezer for religous reasons shows that allowing an employee to not go into the freezer is reasonable--it is clearly not too expensive or disruptive, since the employer is already making that accommodation. Since the employer could reasonably accommodate you but is not, this may be illegal disability-based discrimination: you should contact the EEOC or your state's equal or civil rights agency to look into filing a complaint.


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