Is it illegal to fire an employee for a medical condition?
When is it illegal to fire an employee for a medical condition? Can employers fire employees for any reason? Are there any exceptions? Are there protected classes of employees?
There are many questions surrounding the legal issue with firing an employee for a medical condition.
Although employers can fire employees "at-will", in many cases firing an employee for a medical condition may be illegal. Typically, at-will employment means that an employer could fire an employee for any reason, however, they are still subject to local, state and federal laws.
There are both state and federal laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against or firing protected classes of workers. Employees with medical conditions may be considered protected. If an employer fires an employee for a medical condition that's protected legally, that employee may be able to sue for wrongful termination.
What qualifies as a protected medical condition? Certain disabilities, illnesses, pregnancies, and injuries may qualify. The Americans with Disabilities Act protect workers from wrongful termination based on disability. Depending on the company you work for, if they employee more than 50 employees, under the Family Medical Leave Act, they might be required to allow qualifying employees to take unpaid leave for their medical condition.
If you have any questions about wrongful termination, employment rights, or discrimination, send us a message.