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Unfortunately, people with disabilities sometimes face additional difficulties in their lives when their employers discriminate against them based on their conditions. Employers are categorically prohibited from taking adverse actions against employees because of a real or perceived disability. Furthermore, they must provide reasonable accommodations, if needed, to allow a worker to do his or her job. When an employer chooses to dismiss an employee rather than make modest allowances for his or her condition, a wrongful termination claim may be a viable option. If you believe that you were fired from an Atlanta company because of a disability, the employment discrimination lawyers at Parks, Chesin & Walbert can evaluate your situation and advise you on the appropriate action to take.Protect Your Rights Under Federal and State Law
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against qualified individuals due to disability. A person is considered to fit within the meaning of this law if he or she has an impairment, either physical or mental, that substantially limits a major life activity. An individual is also protected under the ADA if he or she has a record or history of such an impairment, or is regarded as having it even if he or she actually does not.
Someone is considered “qualified” to perform a job if he or she can carry out its essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation. However, employers must provide a reasonable accommodation for a known disability if doing so would not create an undue hardship for the operation of the business. For example, it probably would be reasonable to give an employee with limited mobility a parking space on the entrance level of the company garage. It likely would be an undue hardship, by contrast, to build a new level of the garage so that the employee can park there.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing the ADA. Before filing a disability discrimination lawsuit, an aggrieved employee must first file a charge with the EEOC. The employee has only 180 days after the discriminatory conduct occurred to take this action.
Although employment in Georgia is generally “at-will,” state law also prohibits discrimination based on disability. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 34-6A-6, a person with a disability “who is aggrieved by an unfair employment practice…may institute a civil action against the persons engaged in such prohibited conduct.” The action must be brought within 180 days after the illegal action.
Remedies available to a person who has been wrongfully terminated from employment because of a disability will depend on the facts of the case, as well as the law under which it is brought. Claims filed under the ADA may include reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages, and sometimes punitive damages when a company has acted in an especially egregious way. For claims brought under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. 34-6A-6 specifically allows the court to impose an injunction, a restraining order, or an order requiring hiring, reinstatement, or the admission of the employee into training programs. The court may also award back pay, court costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.Legal Guidance in Atlanta on Wrongful Termination Issues
Parks, Chesin & Walbert understands disability discrimination laws. Wrongful termination attorneys have the skills and knowledge to assist you with any legal issue in this area, no matter how complicated it may seem. We will be happy to explore your options with you at your convenience. Call us at 877-986-5529 or contact us online to discuss your case.