Did you know an employer cannot discriminate against you because you have a record of a disability, even if you aren’t currently disabled? We recently settled a case where an employer refused to re-hire an employee who had been off work for over a year because of major back surgery. After his FMLA leave had run out, the employee was terminated but told he was eligible to be re-hired once his doctor released him to return to work. When he had recovered from the surgery and applied to be re-hired, the employer didn’t hire him because they were afraid he would re-injure his back–even though his doctor released him to return to work without restrictions and said his back was stronger than ever. This is considered illegal discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Since Congress amended the ADA, many conditions are considered “disabilities” under the law that never made the list before. Employers may not discriminate against employees who have medical conditions requiring any accommodations to permit them to work. Even if an employee needs more time off than the allotted 12 weeks provided by the FMLA, he or she may be protected by the ADA. The only way to know for sure is to consult with a Cincinnati employment lawyer who is familiar with disability discrimination laws. You may have more rights and more protection than you think.