Having a disability should not be a reason for someone to lose their job. However, the intersection of disabilities and performance issues in the workplace can sometimes create a grey area. It is essential to understand the legal protections provided to individuals with disabilities to ensure fair treatment and avoid any discriminatory practices.
Let’s explore the question: Can you be fired for performance issues caused by your disability? We will examine laws that shed light on this issue.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It protects employees from job discrimination based on their disabilities and ensures that they have equal opportunities in the workplace.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), if you have a disability and are qualified to perform your job, the ADA protects you from job discrimination on the basis of your disability. This means that your employer cannot fire you solely based on your disability if you can perform the essential functions of your job with or without reasonable accommodations.
Performance Issues and the ADA
The ADA does not protect employees from the consequences of violating conduct or performance requirements, even if the misconduct or poor performance is caused by a disability. According to the EEOC’s guidance on applying performance and conduct standards to employees with disabilities, employers can hold employees with disabilities to the same performance and conduct standards as those without disabilities.
In other words, if an employee’s performance issues are unrelated to their disability and they fail to meet the job requirements, an employer may take appropriate disciplinary action, including termination. However, it is crucial for employers to engage in an interactive process to determine if reasonable accommodations can be provided to help the employee meet the job requirements.
Examples of Discrimination and Legal Action
It is essential to highlight that wrongful termination based solely on performance issues caused by a disability can be considered discriminatory and illegal. Employers have a responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and engage in an interactive process with employees to explore solutions before resorting to termination.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated due to performance issues caused by your disability, it is advisable to consult with the best employment lawyers in NJ. They can assess your situation, guide you through the legal process, and help you understand your rights under federal and state laws.
Contact Zatuchni & Associates for Advice
While the ADA and state laws protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace, it is essential to distinguish between performance issues caused by a disability and unrelated performance issues. Employers have the right to set performance standards and take appropriate disciplinary action if an employee fails to meet those standards, regardless of their disability.
However, employers must engage in an interactive process and provide reasonable accommodations to help employees meet their job requirements. Wrongful termination solely based on performance issues caused by a disability can be considered discriminatory and may lead to legal action.
Remember, every situation is unique, and seeking advice from employment lawyers in NJ is crucial to understanding your rights and options under federal and state employment laws.
For legal advice on this or other issues related to employee rights in the workplace, contact Zatuchni & Associates. We are experienced lawyers who represent the interests of employees from Trenton to Newark and all those in between who have been injured by discrimination, harassment, and illegal employment practices.