Employee Rights No Fees Unless We Win
Fired Due to Heart Disease
Heart Disease is the term commonly used for a group of diseases (cardiovascular diseases) that affect the heart and blood vessels. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States of America. One of the most prevalent forms of Heart Disease is coronary artery disease, which involves the buildup of a waxy substance called plaque on the insides of arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.Causes of Heart Disease
A Lack of Physical Activity over a prolonged period of time can increase the risk of heart disease.
Chronic Stress can increase the risk of heart disease.
Working the Swing or Graveyard Shift is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Smoking tobacco, particularly regular use over a long period of time, is known to increase the risk of heart disease.
An Unhealthy Diet, such as a diet high in saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium, and low in fruits and vegetables and whole grains, can increase the risk of heart disease.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Type 2 Diabetes is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Advanced Age. Yes, as we age the risk of heart disease increases.
Prolonged and Repeated Exposure to Carbon Monoxide can reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream thereby damaging the heart.
Prolonged and Repeated Exposure to Solvents, Nitrate Esters, or Heavy Metals can increase the risk of heart disease.Working and Heart Disease
Treatments for Heart Disease have improved in recent decades, allowing individuals with the disease to continue to have productive working lives when before they would have left the workforce. One recent study found that among persons employed at the time they had a heart attack, only one in ten of these individuals either reduced their hours in the long term or quit working altogether because of the heart attack.California Fair Employment and Housing Act
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (California Government Code sections 12900 – 12996) prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on disability, as well as several other protected categories such as Race, Age, and Pregnancy. However, there is often a gap between what is prohibited by law and what people experience in the workplace. The experienced employment attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC understand this well.
While workers with heart disease may also be considered disabled under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (42 United States Code section 12101 et seq.), FEHA is the law California workers should pay attention to because of its broader protections and coverage.
Persons with heart disease may be considered disabled under FEHA. A condition, such as Heart Disease, is considered a disability under FEHA if it (i) affects a body system (such as the cardiovascular system), and (ii) limits a major life activity (such as working). See California Government Code section 12926.Timely, Good Faith, Interactive Process
While some people diagnosed with heart disease will be able to continue to work as they did before the diagnosis, many others will require a modification to their job in order to continue working.
Under FEHA, employers must engage in a timely, good faith, interactive process with a worker with a known or suspected condition, such as heart disease, which has become disabling. The purpose of the timely, good faith, interactive process requirement is to enable persons with disabling conditions to keep their jobs by identifying and implementing effective reasonable accommodations.Reasonable Accommodations
A whole host of modifications to a worker’s job might count as a reasonable accommodation. For example, providing access to an ergonomic workstation could be a reasonable accommodation depending on the circumstances of the worker. Job restructuring by eliminating certain physically demanding but non-essential duties you would otherwise be required to perform could be a reasonable accommodation. The same goes for an unpaid leave of absence for a finite period of time. A reasonable accommodation could be a different work schedule, such as a reduced hours schedule, or allowing you to begin working earlier or later in the day to facilitate doctor visits or treatment.Obtaining Reasonable Accommodations From Your Employer After a Heart Attack or Heart Disease Diagnosis
Some disabilities will be readily noticeable to the employer; the disability announces itself as soon as the job applicant enters the premises. Other disabilities, such as heart disease, may not be readily noticeable to the employer. Hence, if heart disease is affecting your ability to perform your job, you should promptly notify your employer of your situation. The costs of remaining silent might be your job as well as the prospect of prevailing on a wrongful termination claim for disability discrimination. While you may find it awkward, or embarrassing, to discuss your limitations with your employer, there is no substitute for clear communication with your employer as to what you can and cannot do on the job, and what help you need to keep your job.Notify Human Resources
Even if you have a great relationship with your boss, you are usually better off first contacting your employer’s human resources department concerning reasonable accommodations. Your very nice boss may turn into your worst enemy. Your boss’ main duty may be to ensure that the people under her supervision are working as productively as possible—that the work is actually getting done. Allowing you, a subordinate, to take time off from work, or giving your physically demanding job tasks to another worker may reduce the amount of work getting done overall. There may be a tension between doing what is best for you and what your boss thinks is best for her career. Of course, there is no guarantee that Human Resources will honor your rights under FEHA. Nonetheless, opening a line of communication with Human Resources is usually your best option. If you are fired from your job because of heart disease, that is the time to call an experienced employment attorney, such as the experienced employment attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC, for help.Contact Us
If your employer has fired you from your job due to heart disease or another disability or health condition, or if your employer or former employer has otherwise violated your rights under California law, call the experienced employment attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC or Contact Us via our online form.