WHAT IS CYSTIC FIBROSIS?
Cystic Fibrosis is a hereditary disease stemming from a genetic disorder which affects all of the body, causing progressive disability and, often, early death. Difficulty breathing is a common symptom, which results from frequent lung infections. Sinus infections, poor growth, and infertility are also common symptoms.
Treating lung damage is the most important treatment for an individual affected with cystic fibrosis. Antibiotics are used to treat infections, and, for those with severe lung problems, intensive physical therapy is often recommended. In addition, aerobic exercise, breathing machines, and even lung replacement surgery can be recommended.
WAYS IN WHICH YOU MIGHT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF CYSTIC FIBROSIS
- 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 does not allow you to miss work for your physical therapy sessions
- Your employer does not accommodate your need to bring a breathing machine at work
HOW THE LAW PROTECTS YOU IF YOU HAVE CYSTIC FIBROSIS
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
According to both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee's disability. An adverse employment action would include discriminatory hiring, firing, or lack of accommodation. Cystic Fibrosis is a disability, deserving of protection from discrimination. Accordingly, an employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee's Cystic Fibrosis. The employer also has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with Cystic Fibrosis 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 employee needs to leave work to attend physical therapy sessions, the employer has an obligation to so accommodate an employee, unless doing so would place an undue burden on the employer.
- For Legal Help see Finding an Attorney and David H. Greenberg, California Employment Law Attorney.