Unable to work, ineligible for FMLA? You may be able to fire

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in Discrimination and Harassment,FMLA Guidelines,HR Management,Human Resources

Employees who can’t come to work at all because of a disability can’t perform the essential functions of their jobs.

Recent case: Doudou Janneh worked for a movie theater and became ill. He missed work, and his wife gave the theater a doctor’s excuse. HR determined that he wasn’t eligible for FMLA leave, and he was terminated.

Janneh sued, alleging disability discrimination. The State Division of Human Rights found the employer guilty even though Janneh couldn’t return to work for over a year.

The New York Supreme Court reversed, concluding that someone who is so incapacitated they cannot work can be discharged. (In re Regal v. New York State Division of Human Rights, No. 505659, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, 2009)

Final note:
Under the ADA, disabled employees may be entitled to a short leave as an accommodation.

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