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Wrongful Termination Due To Medical Condition
Although employment is “at will” in California, this is not a free pass for employers to terminate an employee in contravention of the law. Employers in the state must abide by the law, including federal and state anti-discrimination laws. State law forbids workplace discrimination arising out of many different protected characteristics, including physical or mental disabilities and medical conditions. If you received a wrongful termination due to a medical condition, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for damages. You should consult the Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers at the Kokozian Law Firm.Wrongful Termination due to a Medical Condition
Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in California workplaces. In general, the California anti-discrimination law affords greater protections for workers. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it illegal for your employer to discriminate against you due to a medical condition or perceived medical condition. Discrimination can include any adverse employment action, including firing or termination. FEHA applies to California employers with at least five employees.
You should be evaluated by a prospective or existing employer without regard to your medical condition. Under FEHA, a medical condition is defined as a health impairment related to a history, record, or diagnosis of cancer, or as genetic characteristics that have been associated with an increased risk of developing a certain disease or disorder. Genetic characteristics can include any medically or scientifically identifiable gene or chromosome known to cause a disease or disorder or considered to be linked to an increased risk of having a disease. They can also include inherited characteristics that may derive from a family member or other person that are known to cause a disease in someone or that are associated with an increased risk of a disease. Often, medical conditions overlap with mental or physical disabilities like diabetes, schizophrenia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or HIV.
If an employer in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California terminated you because you disclosed a diagnosis or your employer found out that you had a medical condition for another reason, you may be able to recover damages. To recover damages, your attorney will need to show that you suffered from a medical condition, and you faced an adverse employment action because of the medical condition. It is illegal for your employer to terminate you based on a medical condition unless the medical condition stops you from performing essential job duties, even with reasonable accommodations. In other words, your capacity to do your job with reasonable accommodations is critical to pursuing a claim for wrongful termination due to a medical condition.Reasonable Accommodations Under FEHA
Your employer should make reasonable accommodations for a medical condition that qualifies as a disability unless doing so poses an undue hardship. You should not be terminated because you requested a reasonable accommodation in good faith. Reasonable accommodations are any modifications or adjustments to a job that make it possible for someone with a disability to do the job. They can include modified work schedules, job restructuring, reassignment to a vacant position, providing equipment, adjusting an exam, providing a different vacant position, or allowing for a leave with the job open.Filing a Claim Under FEHA
If you were fired because you have a medical condition or because you exercised your rights under FEHA, you may be able to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit. To file a civil lawsuit, you or an attorney on your behalf would need to first exhaust your administrative remedies by filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and receiving a right-to-sue notice.Damages for Wrongful Termination Under FEHA
If you successfully establish liability for wrongful termination due to a medical condition, damages to which you may be entitled include past and future lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, and out-of-pocket costs. If there was egregious wrongdoing by an employer, you may be able to obtain punitive damages.The Americans With Disabilities Act
If your employer has a minimum of 15 employees, you may have a basis to recover damages under the ADA. You would need to show that your medical condition meets the definition of a disability set forth under the ADA, and you were terminated because of it.Retain a Seasoned Wrongful Termination Attorney in Los Angeles
Employers sometimes have misconceptions or stereotypes about workers with medical conditions. Your employer should not decide to terminate you based on these biases. If you were wrongfully terminated due to a medical condition, call the Los Angeles attorneys at the Kokozian Law Firm. Call us at 323.857.5900 or contact us via our online form.