Protection Of California Employees With A Medical Condition

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2021 | Employment Law

According to FMLA, no employer should fire an employee because of a medical condition. Even though the law protects you, you need to know your legal rights when navigating your claim based on your medical condition.

If your employer has terminated you after learning of your physical or mental condition, you have a right to file a wrongful termination claim. But some cases are complicated and require one to hire a wrongful termination attorney to fight back and help them hold the employer liable.

Job Applicant Or Employee With A Medical Condition

Having a medical condition doesn’t mean the law will protect you. You must be eligible. The fact is that if you have been missing work due to your medical condition, then you may be on the verge of losing your job. The basis on which you may be dismissed is crucial in understanding how to go about your legal claim. The law requires that protected employees be granted medical leave for their medical conditions. Such reasons may include taking care of your illness or any other family health issue.

If you cannot perform essential duties, then your employer has no obligation to dismiss you. Instead, where necessary, he/she should provide reasonable accommodation to ensure you can carry out your duties with ease as long as your condition doesn’t place a significant burden on your employer. Your employer has no obligation to:

  • Refuse to hire you based on your medical condition. In California, Washington, and the United States, every employer must evaluate prospective applicants without regard to their medical condition (actual or perceived).
  • Demoting, firing, or failure to promote.
  • Fail to provide reasonable accommodation if it will not cause undue hardship to the business.

If you have a medical condition, the only concern would be how you will carry out your duties. Your employer can ask questions only if:

  • Your employer has the notion that you will not complete your assigned tasks due to your medical condition.
  • Your employer needs documents related to your condition to ensure he/she provides a reasonable accommodation.

Dealing With Actual And Perceived Medical Condition

Some employers take adverse employment actions based on what they perceive. For instance, if your prospective employer fails to hire you because of signs that resembled a contagious disease and later comes to find it was not true, such an employer will have violated the laws. He/she can be held liable for discrimination based on your perceived medical condition.

Even if your employer may have known of your condition, under no basis should they discriminate against you? For instance, an employer who demotes an employee based on their genetic condition, with the notion that they will need time off work to attend clinics, may violate the law.

Under such circumstances, an employer has no right to conduct a medical test if other applicants or employees are not undergoing such tests. Again, the test must be job-related. Where interview questions seem to be direct to your medical condition, this may also be a sign of a potential discrimination claim.

Suppose your employer seems to discriminate against you based on your medical condition. In that case, you need to act swiftly to contact an experienced employment lawyer who can advise you on whether you may have a claim.