The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against workers with medical conditions. Showing favoritism toward unimpaired applicants and employees may classify as discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes that employers cannot base decisions on past illnesses or health issues. When they do, an individual may have grounds to file a legal action.
Disabled employees have a right to reasonable accommodations
Employers must provide reasonable accommodations when disabled employees request them. To comply with the law, employers may need to modify or adjust the workplace. Accommodations generally assist disabled employees to perform better.
Changing overhead lighting may improve the environment for an employee with a visual impairment. Software to read text or the addition of a wheelchair ramp may also help impaired employees. Small changes may assist workers in completing tasks without aggravating a medical condition.
Some medical issues may need breaks for treatment
As reported by HR Dive, a diabetic former employee filed a complaint after an unlawful termination. The Florida resident asked for short breaks to check his blood sugar level. The breaks did not affect his job performance, but his supervisor claimed he posed a “liability.” After the employer fired the worker, the U.S. EEOC filed a lawsuit against the company.
Under federal law, employers must work with a disabled employee who requests accommodation. Failing to do so or firing an employee in response may result in legal action.
A blanket refusal to consider a reasonable workplace change may violate federal law. A disabled employee may need the adjustment to working without harming his or her health. Unless it presents an undue company hardship, employers must provide the requested accommodation.