Should existing health problems make me lose my job?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Should existing health problems make me lose my job?

I was working at a job constantly having asthma attack because of the department

I was in. I was told I couldnt be moved out of the department until I provided

paperwork, which I did. When asthma attacks happened at work, I was told to go to the plant clinic. However, everytime I’d to they would tell me they couldn’t help and I would have to leave to go see my primary doctor or go to the ER. Yet, leaving would mean I would a points at work and eventually lead to me being fired. Is this right? Should I have lost my job because of existing health problems?

Asked on November 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether having the attacks causes you to miss much work or be unable to do the job. While an employer cannot terminate an employee for having a medical condition, and must make "reasonable accommodations" (changes to how the job is done and/or the provision of some assistive devices or technology which are not too expensive or disruptive), the employee must be able to do his or her job (the important or core functions thereof); must be able to work his or her full hours; and has to reasonably productive (get the job done). If the attacks prevent you from doing one of these things--e.g. when having or in the aftermath of the attacks, you cannot work and so miss work and/or are unproductive--then they could likely terminate you.
But if the attacks did not interfere with your work in any excessive or unreasoanble way, they could not terminate you for this and doing so is likely a violation of the laws barring discrimination against employees due to disabilities or medical conditions. If you believe this is the case, contact the federal EEOC about filing a complaint.

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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