But A Single Syncopal Episode Could Be A Disability
A state court case from Indiana presents the other side of the coin, when a seemingly minor physical impairment is judged to be sufficient to qualify as a disability. Melissa Davis briefly worked for the Knox County Association for Retarded Citizens in Vincennes, Indiana, as a direct support professional. After several months on the job, she showed up to work one day in a confused and incoherent state. She was unsure how she got to work, she could no longer walk, and her heart was racing. Her supervisor told her she should not perform work until she got clearance from her doctor.
Her doctor diagnosed her as having lost consciousness due to a single syncopal event without determining what caused it. He released Davis to return to light duty work, saying she should not bend, stoop, lift anything over 10 pounds, or remain on her feet for too long. KCARC concluded that there were no positions that would satisfy those restrictions and terminated her employment. She filed a claim under the ADA and related state law, and the employer defended her claim much like the way Liberty Mutual and Blue Mountain defended the claims described above: it contended that nothing in the record supported a finding that Davis single loss of consciousness incident substantially limited any of her major life activities.
Are There Other Options Besides Telecommuting
Would moving the employee to another location at work, restructuring the job, or a modified work schedule solve the problem? Notably, even the EEOC acknowledges; that an employer does not have to allow telecommuting if there are other reasonable, equally effective accommodations available, even if telecommuting is the employees preferred choice. Employers should carefully assess whether telecommuting resolves the workplace issue and if it is the only accommodation available. If working from home is the only possible reasonable accommodation, you will have to determine whether physical presence in the workplace is an essential function of the job.
Suing For Disability Discrimination Under The Americans With Disabilities Act
Under the ADA, you could alway sue if your employer terminated your employer for damages in federal court.
You would have to go through the administrative process with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission .;
You would file a charge with the EEOC.; The EEOC would then investigate your claim.; After some time passes, the EEOC would then issue a right to sue letter.; And you would sue in federal court.
If you are successful, you will receive some type of compensation.
;Your damages would consist of back pay, front pay, emotional distress, and sometimes punitive damages.
- Back pay: where you get the money you should have made had your employer not terminated you.
- Front pay: where you claim that you can no longer work at your previous employer.; As a result, you are seeking damages from the time of trial to when you can find another position.
- Emotional distress: where you suffered some type of pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages: where the court awards you money intending to punish your employer for its actions.
With asthma, a disability that could go either way, it might be wise to work with your employer.; Especially if you have a good job you want to keep.
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Disabled Able To Do Job From Home
Peeples, who started working at Clinical Support Options Inc.’s Center for Community Resilience after Trauma eight days before Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state emergency, is at greater risk of serious illness if they contract the virus because of their asthma, the court said.
Peeples is likely to be able to establish that asthma is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, at least during the COVID-19 pandemic, Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson said. The judge cited limited precedent on determining when an impairment substantially limits a major life activity during the pandemic.
Peeples is also likely to be able to show they could perform the essential functions of their job remotely, Robertson said.
They teleworked successfully for four months after the state emergency was first declared, she said. And Peeples manager backed their ability to continue to telework in an email to their boss, the judge added.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has indicated that telework can be a viable ADA accommodation in certain situations, Robertson said.
CSO said it accommodated Peeples by providing face masks, hand sanitizer, a private work space, and other safety precautions after supervisor Sandi Walters rejected their request to continue to work from home and that Peeples reluctantly returned to the office briefly in July, according to the ruling.
To contact the reporters on this story: Patrick Dorrian
Sample Letter To Work From Home During The Covid
This sample letter can be used to ask your employer or prospective workplace for reasonable accommodations to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am writing to request a reasonable accommodation for my disability to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am a at . Federal and state law require employers to accommodate employees and applicants with disabilities. Because of my disability, I am in a higher risk group for contracting and/or experiencing severe or even fatal symptoms from COVID-19. For this reason, I must limit contact with others during this pandemic as much as possible.
I am able to perform the essential job duties of my position with a work from home reasonable accommodation.
I need the following equipment in order to work from home effectively .
[If you can get a doctors note that supports your request, then include:
My medical care provider has deemed it necessary to work at home instead of my usual work location.]
Please respond to this request by .
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Substantially Limits One Or More Major Life Activities
Remember those elements above? And that there are three ways in which you can show a disability?; Well, we are going to talk about the first prong first.;;
The court first determined whether her disability substantially limited one or more major life activities.; Because her work was the only cause of her asthma, the court analyzed whether her asthma limited her ability to work.
The court found that Ms. Merit was not limited from working in another job where she could work in a smoke-free environment.
Thus, her asthma did not qualify as a disability.; So, the takeaway, is that if your disability only affects your ability to work, and you can work in another job at the same company, you do not have a disability under the ADA.
In this case, she didnt have a disability because she could easily move to a job in a smoke-free environment.
The court said that because her asthma did not prevent her from working at a broad classification of jobs, that it did not fit the definition.;;
This is unlike other disabilities where numerous jobs are restricted because of a disability.;
This court was likely being harsh.; And other courts might find differently.; But the point is this: if your asthma isnt a significant impairment, it might not qualify as a disability.;
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What Do I Do If I Think That I’m Being Discriminated Against
If you think you have been discriminated against in employment on the basis of disability after July 26, 1992, you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A charge of discrimination generally must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. You may have up to 300 days to file a charge if there is a State or local law that provides relief for discrimination on the basis of disability. However, to protect your rights, it is best to contact EEOC promptly if discrimination is suspected.
You may file a charge of discrimination on the basis of disability by contacting any EEOC field office, located in cities throughout the United States. If you have been discriminated against, you are entitled to a remedy that will place you in the position you would have been in if the discrimination had never occurred. You may be entitled to hiring, promotion, reinstatement, back pay, or reasonable accommodation, including reassignment. You may also be entitled to attorneys fees.
While the EEOC can only process ADA charges based on actions occurring on or after July 26, 1992, you may already be protected by State or local laws or by other current federal laws. EEOC field offices can refer you to the agencies that enforce those laws.
To contact the EEOC, look in your telephone directory under “U.S. Government.” For information and instructions on reaching your local office, call:
- or 202-663-4494 .)
How The Ada Can Help
If you have asthma or allergies, the ADA can help you feel safe and healthier when you work, shop, go to school, or eat. Under the ADA, a business canât deny you if youâre qualified because of your allergies or asthma. Instead, they will need to provide an allergy-friendly lunchroom or work environment.
Public and nonreligious private schools also must create friendly environments that are free of asthma or allergy triggers. Even if the school doesnât get funds from the government, they must follow the ADA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act calls a change made to make you more comfortable an accommodation. You and the people in your space will work together to make a shift that best fits your well-being.
An accommodation may include a workspace reorganization to get rid of things youâre allergic to, lower triggers like odors, or replace old carpets. But organizations donât need to make a change that causes a huge alteration.
For example, if the company doesnât have enough money to support your change or it would drastically adjust the way it does business, you wouldnât be able to ask for it to accommodate you in that way. But your company must make a strong effort to help you stay comfortable before it denies your request. The only way a business can deny your accommodation is if it has considered all options first.
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Is Asthma A Disability Yes It Almost Always Is Considered A Disability
Asthma can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disability Act .; But the definition of disability is not clearly defined under the ADA.; And whether asthma actually qualifies is subject to interpretation.
Just because you have asthma attacks, does not mean that you are protected.; Further, even if you are protected at work under the ADA, you might not be protected out of work with social security disability benefits.
Whether you are looking for a reasonable accommodation or to get disability benefits, you should understand:
- Whether your asthma is a disability under the ADA; and
- Whether your asthma qualifies you for social security disability benefits.
You a more likely to be considered disabled under the ADA than under the Social Security Act.
Physical Or Mental Impairments
To be disabled under the ADA, you must have a physical or mental impairment. Not everything that keeps you from doing activities is an impairment. But, the ADA uses a broad definition.
A physical impairment is any medical disorder, condition, or loss that affects the body. These can be:
A mental impairment is any mental or cognitive disorder. This includes:
- Intellectual disability,
What qualifies for the ADA?
Physical or mental impairments covered by the ADA include:
- AIDS, and its symptoms
- Blindness or other visual impairments
- Loss of body parts
Some short-term impairments with little or no lasting effects do not qualify. The ADA does not protect against unfair treatment based on lifestyle.;
Conditions that are not impairments include:
- Common cold or the flu
- Sprained joint
- Minor and non-chronic gastrointestinal disorders
- Broken bone that is expected to heal completely
- Compulsive gambling
- Old age
- Bisexuality or homosexuality
Does drug addiction qualify?
Casual drug use is not an impairment. This applies to unlawful drugs and to prescription drug use. There are few situations where drug addiction qualifies under the ADA. One is if someone has a history of addiction or is thought to be addicted to drugs.The addiction could qualify as an impairment. It is not an impairment if someone has a history of addiction and is now using illegal drugs.
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Not Being Able To Work Overtime Doesnt Mean Youre Disabled
Valerie Hoppman worked as a senior claims representative for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in Lake Oswego, Oregon for over a decade before beginning to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work she was expected to complete. She told her supervisor about her anxiety and stress, and shortly thereafter took a medical leave of absence for a low-back condition. After a few months of leave, her doctor returned her to work but limited her permissible activity to eight hours per day.
Hoppmans return to work did not go well. She still felt overwhelmed and told her supervisor that there was not enough time to get all of her work done, especially given the fact that she was restricted from working overtime. Within a year of her first medical leave, she again left work due to medical reasons and sought accommodations from Liberty Mutual. The company told her they would work with her on potential accommodations once she came back to work. But before she could return, Hoppman left her job and took a position with another insurance company. She filed a lawsuit against Liberty Mutual alleging that it failed to accommodate her under the ADA.
Ada Protections Vs Ssi Benefits
Employment law ensures that workers receive a number of protections and benefits when they are dealing with a disability or health condition. While the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits disability discrimination and provides reasonable accommodations, Social Security Insurance benefits are given to people who are unable to work due to their health condition.
Employees need to determine which option is best according to the severity of their asthma.
What Is Asthma In Veterans
According to the Mayo Clinic, asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus.
This can make breathing more difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
For some veterans, asthma is a minor nuisance.
For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
While asthma cant be cured, its symptoms can be controlled.
Because asthma often changes over time, its important that you work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust your treatment as needed.
Ableism Negative Attitudes Stereotypes And Stigma
An ableist belief system often underlies negative attitudes, stereotypes and stigma toward people with disabilities. Ableism refers to attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities. According to the Law Commission of Ontario:
may be defined as a belief system, analogous to racism, sexism or ageism, that sees persons with disabilities as being less worthy of respect and consideration, less able to contribute and participate, or of less inherent value than others. Ableism may be conscious or unconscious, and may be embedded in institutions, systems or the broader culture of a society. It can limit the opportunities of persons with disabilities and reduce their inclusion in the life of their communities.
Ableist attitudes are often premised on the view that disability is an anomaly to normalcy, rather than an inherent and expected variation in the human condition.;Many in the disability rights movement have pointed out that people without disabilities are merely temporarily able-bodied. As one author writes,
veryone is subject to the gradually disabling process of aging. The fact that we will all become disabled if we live long enough is a reality many people who consider themselves able-bodied are reluctant to admit.
In its own consultations with people with disabilities, the Law Commission of Ontario reported:
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Who Is Considered A Person With A Disability Under Section 504 And The Ada
Section 504 and the ADA define the terms “handicap” or “disability” with respect to an individual to mean a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such an individual. Included in the definition are people who have a record of such an impairment, or are regarded as having such an impairment. The definition of disability under Section 504 and the ADA differs from that typically used to determine eligibility in programs that provide cash assistance based upon disability such as the Federal Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance programs. This definition may also be different from that used by some States to determine whether an individual may be exempt from certain program rules in TANF. For more information on the definition of disability under Section 504, see 29 USC 705; under the ADA, see 42 USC 12102.
Can An Employer Require Medical Examinations Or Ask Questions About A Disability
If you are applying for a job, an employer cannot ask you if you are disabled or ask about the nature or severity of your disability. An employer can ask if you can perform the duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. An employer can also ask you to describe or to demonstrate how, with or without reasonable accommodation, you will perform the duties of the job.
An employer cannot require you to take a medical examination before you are offered a job. Following a job offer, an employer can condition the offer on your passing a required medical examination, but only if all entering employees for that job category have to take the examination. However, an employer cannot reject you because of information about your disability revealed by the medical examination, unless the reasons for rejection are job-related and necessary for the conduct of the employer’s business. The employer cannot refuse to hire you because of your disability if you can perform the essential functions of the job with an accommodation.
The results of all medical examinations must be kept confidential, and maintained in separate medical files.
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