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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

What if your employer fired you because of a disability?

If your employer fired you because of a disability you may be able to recover under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The American with Disabilities Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee on the basis of their disability.

This law not only protects disabled employees who are fired because of their disability, but it also protects those who are discriminated against in the application process, hiring, advancement, employee compensation, job training or any of the privileges of employment.

If your employer fired you and you think that it happened because of a disability, contact an attorney and she will be able to determine whether your disability is a qualifying one under the law.

What disabilities qualify?

You can qualify under the ADA if you have

  1. an actual, present disability,

  2. a record of physical or mental impairment or

  3. if your employer fired you on the basis of a perceived disability.

Actual, present disability

To qualify as an actual, present disability the impairment must

  1. be a physical or mental one;

  2. that substantially limits;

  3. one or more of your major life activities

A physical or mental impairment

A “physical or mental impairment” is a broad term that can include anything from being confined to a wheelchair, a cosmetic disfigurement, the loss of a body part, or a variety of mental or psychological disorders. However, keep in mind that this does not include characteristics such as height, weight or eye color.

Substantially limits

The text, “substantially limits,” means that the disability must impact your major life activity in a negative way. It does not mean that the disability severely restricts a major life activity, but it must affect it somehow. For example, a disability that is in remission would qualify as long as it limits a major life activity while it is active.

Major life activities

Finally, “major life activities,” is also broad and it covers a variety of different activities. It includes seeing, hearing, speaking, caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, etc. It also includes major bodily functions, such as the ability to process insulin.

Record of disability

You can qualify under the ADA if you have a record of a disability, even if that disability is not present at the moment.

Regarded as being disabled

You can also qualify if you are regarded as being disabled by your employer. This means that you can bring an action if you have been fired because of an actual or perceived disability, whether or not the disability substantially limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.

Conclusion: your employer fired you because of a disability

If you have a present disability, a past record of disability or a perceived disability, and your employer fired you because of a disability, you may have a right to recover under the ADA. The determination may be  complicated, but a good attorney can guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.

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