Can I be fired after taking breaks for heart condition?

Posted  03-11-2015

Steve Duggan replies:

You also advised that you have a pacemaker, need to take breaks to slow down your heart rate, and your boss knew of your condition when you were hired. Yet, you were fired after 4 ½ months. Your heart condition is clearly a disability, for which an employer would need to provide a reasonable accommodation. It is illegal to fire someone because of a disability, or refuse to provide that accommodation. However, in a court case, the owner is entitled to rely on a presumption that, because he knew of your disability and need for breaks before you were hired, that there was some other reason for the termination. It would be your responsibility in a lawsuit to prove that the reason offered by the employer was untrue, and the most likely reason was your need for breaks. However, you don’t have to go to court to enforce your rights; you can also make a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity office in your state, or your state’s fair employment practices agency. In fact, the laws require you to do that before filing a lawsuit. I suggest you confer with a local labor and employment attorney to discuss your options and evaluate the potential of pursuing a claim.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Steve Duggan graduated from the Law School at the University of Notre Dame while on active duty in the Air Force. He has extensive experience representing management litigating cases of wrongful termination, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment. Steve also has experience in all phases of administrative litigation of unfair labor practice charges, and class and individual complaints of employment discrimination. He has been an instructor of seminars for supervisors and managers on labor management relations and other personnel issues, and for lawyers in basic and advanced trial advocacy courses. Steve came on board with Fair Measures in 1998.