Skip to main content

Can I sue my employer for discrimination based on disability?

Atlanta, GA |

I am an adult living with ADHD/Depression, though it does not hinder my work performance, it at time affects the way I react in certain situations. I have explained to my store manager this on several different occasions. I normally don't have problems with people, I am generally easy going, despite my disability. But when constantly provoked to no end it becomes hard to contain myself. I recently grew ill, and I let my direct supervisor know this. Yet he kept hassling about getting things done without giving me the chance too. I let upper management know, and nothing was done. It got to the point where all I could do was snap back, I got written up and was threatened with termination. 3 weeks later I was hospitalized , after returning to work I was still being hassled and then was fired.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. However, you should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.

The Avvo board is not really set up to handle the kind of detailed analysis necessary in your situation. It works best for short, general questions with short, general answers. More importantly, it is not confidential and your employer could be reading every word here.

However, from your post, it looks like you may have claims for disability discrimination, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, and retaliation. Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=disability-discrimination-in-employment.

Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney in your state. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in your area, please go to the web site of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.nela.org, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.

Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and in many cities. On the NELA web site, you can look at the list of affiliates. Some attorneys will be listed in the affiliate membership list, some in the national organization membership list, and some in both. Being listed in one or both lists should not influence your selection because attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase the listing in the national directory. Each local affiliate has its own rules for listing.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees

Posted

You may have a Workers' Compensation claim in GA, if your employment aggravated your condition and caused the hospitalization. A Georgia WC attorney can more effectively advise you of any rights that you may have there. Your employer has an absolute right to maintain a safe work environment. If your condition caused, permittted or failed to prevent your blow-up, I do not believe your Employer has to accommodate dangerous behavior. Your rights end where the other person's safety begins, regardless of the reason. I do not know what "snap-back" actually entailed, but it could have made the other person fearful for safety. Or maybe not. An Attorney can help you sort out the nuances, but probably not here.

Attorneys are very competitive. Choose the Best Answer so we know who helped you the most.

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree

4 comments

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Posted

I would say an employer does not have to tolerate dangerous behavior, and should not risk the health and safety of other employees, the employee with the medical condition, or the business. However, if dangerous behavior is caused by a lack of reasonable accommodation, or if dangerous behavior could be prevented if the employer would provide reasonable accommodation, then the employer would have to provide it, assuming the employer is covered by the ADA or a similar state law, and assuming the employee has a medical impairment that meets the definition of disability under the law.

George Ellis Corson IV

George Ellis Corson IV

Posted

I respect you deeply, and all your points are true. They just involve a lot of IFs that I did not assume outside the given facts. I aim for the 95% answer, rather than the 5% exception. If he is an exception, the GA Attorney should be able to identify how. Otherwise, I have not given him unrealistic expectations of a windfall.

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Posted

Thank you for your kind words. The given facts include that the asker informed the employer at least twice about the need for accommodation and the employer was not responsive. A request for accommodation does not require any magic words; the employee need only ask for help, per federal case law and the regulations. I interpreted the facts to be that the asker requested accommodation, did not receive it or even the mandatory interactive process, had a snap-back (whatever that is) evidently because of the lack of accommodation, then was fired because of the snap-back. This is a perfect example of what the ADA was designed to prevent. Totally agree the asker needs an attorney in his or her state. And I don't believe I've given any hint of a windfall. I restricted my response to reasonable accommodation-related issues, not economic remedies. A large part of my practice involves representing people with disabilities, both physical and mental. These clients seek legal assistance because they want to work and the employer is preventing them from doing so. I understand your primary practice area is workers' compensation and I understand there is a belief that workers' compensation applicants milk the system. We may see a different type of employee.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

Many of the attorneys who participate regularly here on the Avvo Q and A struggle with the issue in responding to the public questions of how much to assume from the question and how much to suggest to the asker. I personally have solved this tension perfectly-- several times over by now, in fact. I need to check and see which way I am doing it this week, however. Seriously, it is a chronic issue for all of us, and there are potential perils and unintended consequences with either mode. Perhaps that is the "real" reason that Avvo provides for three responses: one to answer the question that was actually asked; one to answer the question that should/could have been asked; and one to assert the need for the asker to see an attorney. At the least, there is a wealth of riches, as the exchange by both of you on this question made so plain.

Business topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics