Imagine getting fired because of a disability – even though your disability did not interfere with your ability to do your job.
A jury in Los Angeles found that the company Rite Aid did exactly that. It terminated the employment of a woman because she had a disability, as Judy Greenwald reports for Business Insurance.
The Los Angeles jury came down in favor of the fired employee, who had brought claims of discrimination and retaliation against her former employer, after she lost her job as store manager because she had been diagnosed with a “non-work related serious disability.”
It’s not clear from Greenwald’s report exactly what the woman’s disability was, or the severity of her diagnosis, but her disability apparently did not affect her role as store manager (at least not since she’d been diagnosed in late 2010).
But, mere months after the diagnosis, she was fired.
It appears as though the outcome at trial (the jury awarded her $3.5 million) was due to Rite Aid’s behavior. According to testimony, Rite Aid never tried to “discuss accommodations”; rather, it “manufactured” a reason to terminate her employment, and in so doing Rite Aid treated her differently from other employees without disabilities.
In California, as in many (if not all) other states, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled people – not fire them after they’ve been diagnosed.