Ask a California employment lawyer:
I broke a bone. Do I have disability rights?
You’re going about your business, bustling along, when suddenly that fountain jumps out right in front of you. You trip and fall and suddenly you have a broken ankle. The doctor says you can’t work for 8 weeks. Your boss says that your job won’t accommodate you and they will have to let you go. Is this legal?
You have the right to take a leave of absence to accommodate your disability
According to state and federal law, your boss must allow you to take leave for a reasonable period of time to care for your disability, as long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship on your employer. In a case that was brought before the California Court of Appeals, Jensen v. Wells Fargo Bank, an employee sued their employer for disability discrimination because she was denied a leave of absence to care for her PTSD that resulted from an armed robbery. The court ruled that your boss must hold your job open in order to recuperate or heal from a medical condition.
So, if you have been injured and need time to heal, or to attend doctor’s appointments, or therapy, you have a right to take time off to care for your condition, even if you don’t qualify for medical leave because your employer is too small or you haven’t worked for your boss long enough. As long as the time off work is definitive and reasonable, it would be illegal for your boss to fire you because you need time off to care for your condition.
You have a right to to accommodation even if your injury is only temporary
Temporary medical conditions are not always considered disabilities. In fact, for years, employers and employees assumed that temporary conditions were exempt from disability protection laws. However, there has been a shift in how temporary conditions are viewed as disabilities.
In the case of Diaz v. Federal Express, a federal court ruled that an employee whose disability lasted about seven months could be disabled under California’s employment laws. Of course, all disabilities must be a serious condition that limits your ability to perform at least one "major life activity." However, if you can’t work, or walk, or move freely because of injury, this requirement will be satisfied. It’s wrong to fire an employee because they need to care for their injuries. If you have been harassed or discriminated against because of your temporary condition, we can help!
Please make an appointment for a free consultation in our Newport Beach office. You can contact us by email or phone. We want to help.