Has anyone else had problems with their employer and ADA?

Problems with Employer/ADA? Please help!!

Hi there, I’m reaching out on behalf of my fiancee, who I believe is being treated unfairly at his workplace. He is 24 and suffers from severe arthritis (diagnosed at age 17) and currently does not have any ADA accommodations, as he doesn’t require any specific accommodations for his position. Recently, he’s had to leave work or be absent from work (not often, just occasionally) because his medications made him ill, and they are starting to give him a hard time. Today, he was told that he couldn’t leave even though he was throwing up in the bathroom–he had asked to leave early and take the remainder of the day (4 hours) off and use his accrued PTO to make up for the difference. They said ‘seemed odd’ since we are heading into a long weekend, and implied that he was trying to leave early for his own benefit. They then sat him down with HR and mandated that if he does not get the ADA Accommodation form filled out, they will take ‘disciplinary action’ and write him up formally. To me, this doesn’t seem ethical or legal–yes, his condition is the root cause of why he is feeling ill, but no other employee is being questioned for leaving early when getting sick. Ultimately, he wanted to avoid the ADA Accommodation simply because he wants to be treated the same as anyone else, he’s not asking for any differential treatment. I just want to know if there is any recourse we can take? It absolutely kills me to not only see him in so much pain, but now dealing with this! Any advice or input is greatly appreciated, as he is worried about being targeted for this and potentially losing his job. Thank you!


Community Answers
  • Richard Faust moderator
    9 months ago

    Hi Laurendav. Sorry to hear your boyfriend is having these difficulties. For your and his protection, we cannot give legal advice over the internet. Each individual situation is different and thus the application of the ADA may differ. On top of the excellent information provided by Monica, there is this article from one of our contributors on the ADA and employee rights: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/ada-know-employee-rights/. In addition, this article from our editorial team looks at RA in the workplace: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living-with-ra/ra-in-the-workplace/.

    Hope this information is helpful and you certainly are to be commended for seeking out information and advocating on his behalf. Wishing you both the best. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • suann
    9 months ago

    You need to check with the fmla..We have different requirements for the work places..You are right people do get profiled by the paperwork they hang on too…I suffer from many illness’ with ra being my dibilator…we can all give advice and trust me,, Ive been through this too….go to the fml act and follow their directions to a T……

  • daisy2bosco
    9 months ago

    He should sign up for intermittent FMLA, this would be unpaid but his job would be protected. It is good for 3 months total leave for the year. He should be able to use up his paid vacation and PTO before using but is not required.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    9 months ago

    Hi laurendav, I’m so sorry your fiancee is dealing with this at work! It’s definitely challenging and unfair. I wanted to make sure you know he has certain rights as an employee with chronic illness. This article by our editorial team outlines ADA Accommodations and links some great resources. https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/working-when-chronically-ill-workplace-accommodations-and-navigating-disability-issues/

    I know you mentioned he is not thrilled to pursue this but it may be worth looking into. I hope he gets what he needs to maintain a healthy work environment where he also feels like his job is protected. Please keep us posted!

    ~Monica (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member)

  • Sneed
    9 months ago

    I’m a lawyer and you need to speak with one who specializes or at least deals with employment/ADA issues. Any other advice you get can not be relied on.

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