WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases of the affecting the optic nerve. The level of damage that glaucoma can cause will vary with each person. Untreated glaucoma can lead to permanent damage of the optic nerve, which can ultimately result in complete blindness.
Even with treatment, glaucoma typically renders sufferers at least somewhat visually impaired, but treatment is still largely effective. The most successful treatment for glaucoma is surgery. Nevertheless, intraocular pressure can be alleviated by medication, usually eye drops. Poor compliance with a doctor's orders can greatly intensify a sufferer's glaucoma.
WAYS IN WHICH YOU MIGHT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF GLAUCOMA
- 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 provide you with Braille materials or adaptive computer software for the visually impaired
HOW THE LAW PROTECTS YOU IF YOU HAVE GLAUCOMA
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
Glaucoma is such a disability, deserving of protection from discrimination. Accordingly, an employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee's glaucoma. The employer also has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with glaucoma 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. While some jobs require (even by law) that employees have good eyesight, many jobs can be accomplished by individuals with vision problems. Employers have a responsibility to provide accommodations to individuals with glaucoma, so long as these accommodations do not place too much of a burden on the employer and workplace safety is not threatened. Employers have a responsibility to provide accommodations to visually impaired individuals, such as providing them with brail reading materials or allowing the use of a seeing eye dog, so long as these accommodations do not place too much of a burden on the employer and workplace safety is not threatened.
- For Legal Help see Finding an Attorney and David H. Greenberg, California Employment Law Attorney.