RN is hired for telephonic desk job 77% seated. Job description changes to 77% walking on concrete hospital floors plus stairs. RN has arthritis in feet and knees. Also, new duties include some for which she has no training or experience, as per her resume. What are my options? If I try and fail, could be fired for not performing. If I quit, no unemployment. I could seek another job, but not likely to change things in the healthcare industry. Advice?
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.
That being said, you have a tricky situation. If your arthritis rises to the level of a legal disability under the law, you can ask for a reasonable accommodation for your arthritis. If one is available, the hospital will have to provide it. If not, then you'll have to do the work without an accommodation.
If you quit because you cannot physically do the job, to get unemployment, you'd have to prove that there was a 'necessitous and compelling reason' to quit - i.e. that you medically cannot perform. This is sometimes difficult, and I'd recommend trying and risking termination rather than quitting. If you are being asked to do something you are not licensed to do, that's a different story. If you merely need further training, then advise your supervisor in writing (keeping a copy) that you need such training and request it be provided.
Speak to your doctor about the job and your arthritis, and see whether he'd opine that you cannot do the job - this will help get unemployment if you have to quit. I'd still recommend trying the job first, and asking for an accommodation/training. The accommodation discussion might lead to you being offered a less physically demanding position. Good luck.
/Christopher E. Ezold/
I am an attorney licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the States of Delaware and New Jersey. My practice includes employment, business and health care law. Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or Federal law applies.
I agree with attorney Ezolds answer, I would add only that if you quit because you are unable to physically perform the essential functions of the job, you must carefully word your unemployment application so that you do not appear to be unable to work in general, it could interfere with eligibility for benefits
All information provided in this comment is intended for informational purposes only and does not, by itself, create an attorney client relationship. Without the benefit of a personal consultation to explore all of the facts of your legal problem, the information in this posting may be inaccurate and for that reason it should not be relied upon.
Your question raises issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Act. You need to consult with an experienced employment law to review the entire situation which includes coordination with your treating physician and potential accommodation for your physical condition.
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