It sounds like you could have a case if this is the only reason they fired you but allowed another co-worker to keep his job that was involved in the same incident. Such a claim needs to be filed with the EEOC, and you only have so long to do that before you lose all rights that you may have.
I would recommend you discuss the details of your case with a local attorney that handles such matters. This website has a great find a lawyer tool if you do not know of any.
Best of luck!
Feel free to contact my office to further discuss the circumstances of your employment and termination. While you will need to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC before you can file a lawsuit, doing so with the guidance of an attorney is generally a better option.
Matthew J.P. Coffman
This information above is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions about your individual circumstances, please consult with an attorney. Please feel free to contact the firm. However, contacting the firm does not create an attorney-client relationship.
It is unlikely that you have a winnable claim for wrongful termination or a claim of retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Wrongful Termination: Unless you had an employment contract, you were an "at-will" employee. An at-will employee can be fired at any time, without notice, and for any lawful reason (at the will of the employer). The company can say that even though it did not need any reason to fire you, they had cause to fire you because you caused an accident.
Disability Retaliation: The Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees and applicants with a disability, so long as the employee can still perform the essential functions of the job. The ADA protects covered employees from illegal retaliation for asserting their rights under the Act.
Firstly, the ADA does not usually cover impairments lasting less than six months.
Secondly, while you are recovering from surgery and are unable to work at all, you would not be able to perform the essential functions of the job of operating a forklift.
While you may not have a case for wrongful termination or retaliation, you could still qualify for unemployment compensation and/or Social Security Disability benefits, and you may wish to contact an attorney to discuss your case in greater depth.
Marcus Van Wey is licensed to practice law in Ohio. Answers to questions in this forum are for informational purposes only, do not create an attorney-client relationship, and are not confidential communications protected by attorney-client privilege.
Were you off on FMLA or short term disability for that 4 month period? I think it is too early to tell whether you do or do not have a case. What you should do is contact an attorney and tell he or she all about what happened. That way, you can be provided with an accurate analysis. You can feel free to call my office or use the search tool on Avvo to find an attorney. Another great option is to search www.oela.net. Good Luck!