Fibromyalgia is a seriously debilitating condition causing patients widespread pain, difficulty sleeping, and a host of other symptoms. While the condition is oftentimes misunderstood by both those in the medical community and the patient’s family or friends, it is universally understood to cause patients a great deal of agony on a daily basis.
Accordingly, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies in many fibromyalgia situations to afford sufferers the workplace protections offered to any other American employee with a disabling condition, including reasonable accommodations to ensure continued job security and retention.
Likewise, if a fibromyalgia patient qualifies as disabled under the ADA definition, he or she is protected from discrimination of any sort, including adverse treatment by supervisors or co-workers. If you are currently suffering from this condition and would like to discuss your rights under the ADA, a skilled Cincinnati discrimination lawyer can help.
Defining ‘Disabled’ under the ADA
The first step to combating fibromyalgia discrimination is to determine a patient’s status under the ADA. While not all fibromyalgia patients will qualify for this distinction, those who face daily severe interruptions of their lives may be considered disabled. More specifically, the law requires a finding that your condition substantially limits one or more of your substantial life activities and your physician has a record of such.
“Substantial life activities” include either major bodily function or basic abilities. The latter category often applies to the fibromyalgia patient as it pertains to the patient’s ability to perform manual tasks such as walking, standing, lifting, bending and concentrating – all highly difficult tasks for many fibromyalgia patients.
Disability as a Protected Class
If you are considered legally disabled under the ADA’s definition, you are protected from discrimination by your employer. First, your employer is required to make reasonable accommodations for you to ensure you are able to keep working. For the fibromyalgia sufferer, this could include extended break times, shorter work days (with adjusted pay), or a more comfortable work station.
If your employer refuses to allow for a reasonable accommodation, despite your request, you may be facing unlawful disability-based discrimination which is actionable under both Ohio and federal laws.
Employers are also forbidden from making adverse employment decisions about an employee based solely on his or her status as a disabled person. For instance, if you are denied access to valuable training materials, participation in workplace event, or are demoted or terminated based solely on your fibromyalgia condition, this likely amounts to unacceptable and illegal discrimination.
By making a disability-based discrimination claim against your employer, you could not only win your job back, but you could receive back pay, compensation for the benefits you were denied, and any additional financial damages incurred as a result of the discriminatory practices.
Contact Us Today for Help!
Fibromyalgia is a disabling condition that, in many cases, affords the sufferer rights under the ADA. If you are facing unfair treatment at your place of employment and you believe it may be due to your condition, contact our office today at (513) 665-9500.