Your employer hired you for a specific job, likely based on your experience and skills. They also trained you to perform the tasks required for your position. The company depends on you to perform certain functions so that the business operates efficiently.
Whether you are an administrative assistant who has to run errands constantly or a manufacturing worker who does hands-on work like welding, there are specific responsibilities that come with your position.
If you become unable to perform those responsibilities, keeping your job could prove difficult. Does your employer have an obligation to work with you or help you stay on the job after an injury or illness affects your job performance?
Federal rules protect workers with significant medical conditions
A disabling medical condition, whether the result of a traumatic injury from a car crash, an infection or a previously undiagnosed genetic issue, theoretically, qualifies a worker for certain protections.
Provided that the employer has at least 15 paid workers, they have an obligation to comply with disability protections for their employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You can request reasonable accommodations from your employer so that you can keep earning income to support yourself if the company is big enough and your condition affects your ability to do your work.
Reasonable accommodations range from changes to your job responsibilities, or the addition of ramps or wheelchair-accessible bathroom stalls, to allowing frequent breaks or investing in assistive technology. Whether the medical issue is the result of a job injury or something that happened outside of work, your employer should do its best to accommodate you if the request you make is reasonable.
Some companies fire workers instead of helping them
Unless an accommodation request will create an undue hardship for the company, they should try to work with staff members adjusting to a new disability or medical condition. Hardship could mean financial losses or major disruptions to standard business operations. Most accommodation requests are simple and require only flexibility and a little effort.
Unfortunately, some companies will retaliate against employees who asked for accommodation by demoting them, cutting their wages, reducing their hours or firing them. Whether your employer simply refuses to accommodate you or has attempted to retaliate against you, you may need help standing up for your rights as an injured or disabled employee.