Mononucleosis

WHAT IS MONONUCLEOSIS?

Infectious mononucleosis (also known as mono or the kissing disease) is a disease seen most commonly in young adults or adolescents. Mono is generally characterized by fever, sore throat, muscle soreness, and fatigue. Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. The virus is typically transmitted from individuals through saliva or blood. The disease is far less contagious than is commonly thought. However, in rare cases a person may have a high resistance to infection. A person can be infected with this virus for weeks or even months before any symptoms appear.

Generally, symptoms usually appear four to seven weeks after infection, and the symptoms might resemble strep throat or other bacterial or viral respiratory infections. These first signs of the disease are commonly confused with cold and flu symptoms. Typical symptoms include stomach ache, severe tiredness, weakness, depression, jaundice, and aching muscles.

WAYS IN WHICH YOU MIGHT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF MONONUCLEOSIS

  • 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 will not accommodate your need for additional rest

HOW THE LAW PROTECTS YOU IF YOU HAVE MONONUCLEOSIS

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 protect individuals from discrimination based on disability. Mono can render an individual disabled, deserving of protection from discrimination. Accordingly, an employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee's mono. The employer also has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with mono 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, if an individual needs to take extra time to rest while suffering from mono, an employer has an obligation to accommodate the employee accordingly, unless doing so would unduly burden the employer.

Mono is also a medical condition, within the definition of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, deserving of protection from discrimination. An employer may not take an adverse action (such as firing, refusing to hire, or failing to accommodate an employee's needs) on the basis of an employee's medical condition. There is an obvious need for accommodation of the individual's doctor appointments, some of which may constitute medical emergencies and may require absences during regular work hours. An employer has an obligation to accommodate the employee accordingly.

Further Information