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Hi. I've been on short term disability for nearly 6 months. Can my manager terminate my employment for being on disability?

Seattle, WA |

My manager has been asking me for my doctor's opinion with a note as to when I can come back to work. My doctor cannot give me a date because he says everyone heals differently and in a different time frame. So since I cannot give my manager a date, he wants to terminate my employment. I was then desperate to save my employment by contacting my doctor’s assistant. Although, she and the doctor knew that I was not ready to return to work, she received a note from my doctor that was signed stating I was ready to go back on July 1, 2014. I'm afraid that if I go back to work in my condition and not be able to sustain myself walking long distances that I may further injure myself. Even worst get terminated because I'm unable to perform my duties like before my injury occurred.

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Attorney answers 3


Ask your doctor for a specific description of your limitations. Then talk to your employer about a reasonable accommodation that recognizes these limitations. If the employer can accommodate they usually will. If this is a permanent disability that falls under the ADA there is more emphasis on accommodation.

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. I hope my information is helpful to you. If you think this post was a good answer, please click the "Good Answer" button below and/or designate my answer as the "BEST ANSWER". Thanks. This is a general response to a question for basic information and is not legal advice. Legal advice can only be given when all of the facts of your situation are discussed with a lawyer, which we have not done. This comment is not to be construed as legal advice to your particular situation because there are many factors that influence legal counseling- this is simply a comment. I am a corporate attorney in South Carolina and cannot represent other than my employer in the South Carolina Courts. I am also admitted in Washington State with no limitations and can represent in the courts there. This is offered as information only and is in no way a solicitation of business.



I've spoken to my Manager explaining that my doctor is willing to send him a letter listing my limitations but my Manager is unwilling to accommodate me. He clearly informed me that I must return to work 100% free from any physical limitations. If I do not comply with his request, I will be terminated immediately. Is this now grounds of discrimination? If so, how do I proceed with this matter?

James Edwin Jackson

James Edwin Jackson


Talk to an active WA Employment Law attorney. Most will consult the first time for free or a nominal amount.


Failure to accommodate your physical limitations and terminating you is in violation of Washington's Laws Against Discrimination. You can, and should, sue to recover lost wages/fringe benefits.

The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice. Mr. Smith answers questions on Avvo because he strongly believes in public service. If you need to ask any follow up questions because my answer did not fully address your question, feel free to call an attorney or post an additional question. Thank you.


I agree with both my colleagues. If your employer is a qualified employer under ADA, and if you are able to perform the essential functions with a reasonable accommodation, then your employer is likely liable. I recommend that you contact one of my two colleagues for a consultation.
Best of luck

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