Can my employer really tell me to stay home?

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Can my employer really tell me to stay home?

My doctor recently put me on a prescription medicine and I have been dealing with side effects from the medication. I have slowed down at work and I can’t help it. Yesterday my supervisor called me out and asked me what my problem was and I tried to explain things to her. She told me that my employer pays me to get my work done quickly and that if the medicine made me feel like this then I should just stay home from work. Can they do that? As if things weren’t bad enough I am now made to feel incompetent.

Asked on June 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you are unable to get your work done satisfactorily due being "slowed down" by a prescription medication, your employer could suspend or even terminate you. The law does not require employers to pay workers who are unable to perform. While it is not legal to discriminate on the basis of a disability, 1) most medical conditions do not in fact constitute a disability (a disability has a significant and not-remediable impact on basic life functions--e.g. vision impairment, inability to sit for any length of time, inability to lift more than a small weight, etc.); and 2) even when there is a disability, the employer's only obligation is to make "reasonable accomodations" to enable the employee to better do his or her work--the employer does not to simply allow the employee to do less work, or work to a lesser quality. From what you write, what your employer did appears legal.


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