WHAT IS A HERNIA?
A hernia is the protrusion of a tissue or part of an organ through the body's muscular tissue. Hernias frequently begin in the abdomen, after a weakness in the abdominal wall evolves into a defect through which the abdominal organs may protrude. Another common hernia involves the intervertebral disc, causing serious back pain.
Hernias may present themselves either by pain at the site, a visible lump, or in more vague symptoms resulting from pressure on an organ which has become stuck in the hernia and sometimes leads to organ dysfunction. Generally, it is advisable for a hernia sufferer to receive prompt treatment. Usually, with an abdominal hernia, surgery is practicable, and recovery is not extensive. It is essential, however, that the sufferer does not aggravate the hernia with extensive manual labor. An individual with a hernia should not undertake any unnecessary lifting, because doing so might well aggravate the hernia.
WAYS IN WHICH YOU MIGHT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF A HERNIA
- Your employer does not allow you to miss work for medical appointments
- Your employer does not accommodate your need to take a reasonable amount of time off of work
- Your employer will not provide reasonable on-site accommodations for your disability
- Your employer doesn't accommodate your need to refrain from heavy lifting or manual labor
HOW THE LAW PROTECTS YOU IF YOU HAVE A HERNIA
To state a cause of action for disability discrimination, an employee must be disabled, regarded as disabled, or have a record of being disabled. The employee must then show that:
- his or her disability results in physical limitations
- that he or she can still perform the essential functions of the job (with or without reasonable accommodations)
- and that the employer took some adverse action (such as not hiring, firing, or demoting the employee) on the basis of that disability
Both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act provide protection against disability discrimination. A hernia can render an individual disabled, deserving of protection from discrimination, as long as the hernia limits the individual's ability to work. Accordingly, an employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee's hernia. The employer also has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with a hernia so as to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. The law will protect an employee whose employer does not provide these necessary accommodations. For example, an individual with a hernia might have to refrain from heavy lifting, so as to not aggravate the hernia. An employer has an obligation to accommodate the employee accordingly, unless doing so would unduly burden the employer.
- For Legal Help see Finding an Attorney and David H. Greenberg, California Employment Law Attorney.