Is it legal for an employer to fire you due to a disability you told them about before they hired you?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for an employer to fire you due to a disability you told them about before they hired you?

I get frequent severe migraines, and
notified the director before he even
extended the position. He said they
could work around it. I had neurology
and pain management appointments
each month that I tried to schedule
during my lunch break, and informed
them of appointments as soon as they
were scheduled. I took in doctors notes
on multiple occasions. I was extremely
drowsy one day because of a new
prescription my doctor started me on. I
closed my eyes for just a moment while
sitting up and using my phone. They
fired me for ‘sleeping’. I explained that I
was very drowsy due to a medication I
had just started for my migraines and
the coffee wasn’t helping. They even
denied my unemployment, stating that I
was fired due to a medical condition.

Asked on July 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They can't fire you for having a disability. However, you may be fired for  conduct at work even if it is disability related. To use a somewhat common example: alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases. An employee cannot be fired for being an alcoholic or addict--but if he/she is impaired at work, he/she can be fired for coming into work impaired or using at work. In this case, if you were sleeping at work, you could be terminated for that--for sleeping on the job--even though you cannot be termianted for having migraines.

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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