Sleeping on the job is a serious job performance issue. At the same time, your employer must engage in a good faith interactive process to see if some reasonable accomodation is possible for BOTH your sleep disorder and your depression. You were correct to bring your health issues to your employer's attention. Depending on your job duties and your employer's resources, your employer may or may not be obligated to allow you to sleep at work. This a very fact driven inquiry, which you should discuss with multiple lawyers.
Finally, I do not think the photo issue is going to help you. The pictures were taken of you violating a company policy, which is not a ground for complaint.
Sleeping on the job will get you gone -- disability or not, misconduct or not. Nothing that any other employee or your supervisor does will put you back on the job with those facts. And no employer will ever be required to allow you to sleep on the job as a "reasonable" accommodation for anything: physical, mental, medical, or otherwise. Forget about suing over the photo. You are already overdue for termination and your employer's baffling forbearance to date will not insulate you from that.
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I respectfully disagree with my colleague. You may have a cause of action for disability discrimination under the American's with Disabilities Act. Some sleep disorders are considered a "disability" under both the more conservative federal law and California state law. The following is a link to an employer oriented website detailing the various sleep disorders that may require an accommodation under disability law. http://askjan.org/media/sleep.html
I successfully received an accommodation for a 911 dispatcher who suffered from a sleep disorder caused by her employment.
Your case sounds extremely complicated. Whether your employer is required to give you a disability and whether your employer's actions towards you would be considered harassment or retaliation depends upon when you asked for the accommodation among the other factors.
Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Fair Employment and Housing Agency for more information. Your case sounds complicated. I would start by producing a timeline of the events then contacting an attorney skilled in employment law.
Do not give up on your case until at least 3 or more attorneys have spoken to you and told you you do not have a chance in court. Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals are humans subject to human mistakes and disagreements.
If you can prove your sleeping disorder is tied to a medical condition then you may have a cause of action. However, if you were sleeping on the job because you were just tired then that's a different story. Talk to a lawyer (free of charge) and provide the lawyer more information about your medical condition.
Best of luck
Under California law, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against an employee based on that employee's disability and in fact, must give that employee reasonable accommodations for that disability in the workplace. However, it is unclear from your facts whether or not you have been allowed to sleep at your desk in the past because of your disability or if you did it without permission. You also do not state who took the pictures of you. More information is needed to determine your legal options here.
Workplace health and safety regulations Criminal charges for harassment Employment Discrimination in the workplace Disability discrimination in the workplace Reasonable accommodation of employees Protections against employer retaliation Workplace safety Termination of employment Lawsuits and disputes State, local, and municipal law Disability discrimination Discrimination