An Ohio woman was terminated by Goodwill, a company that totes its "jobs, training and placement services for people with barriers to employment" on its website, after her medical condition became a problem for the company. She revealed her diagnoses of a relapsing/remitting course of multiple sclerosis in her initial job interview, but when her condition began to affect her work after two years with Goodwill, the company cut her loose.
After vision trouble began, and following a 19-day hospital stay, her doctor sent a note to the employer requesting a larger computer monitor and document magnifier to decrease the strain on her eyes. Five months later, her eye strain had caused a lesion on her optic nerve -- during her hospitalization, she was informed that she would be receiving the accommodations she had requested initially. Two days after she was released from the hospital, two Goodwill vice presidents arrived at her home to notify her that she had to return to work, though she did not yet have a physician's approval to do so.
One VP even went so far as to allegedly say "If I could retroactively terminate you, I would, so that insurance didn't have to pay for a week in the hospital you didn't deserve." When she was fired, her insurance was terminated though she had paid her share a month in advance. Goodwill then denied her unemployment compensation, citing her excessive absences after running out of FMLA leave time.
She has filed a discrimination charge with the state's Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the area's Human Rights Commission. Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act are also being alleged against Goodwill. She is seeking financial compensation from the company in order to cover back pay and her medical costs. She has since lost her home to bankruptcy.
For workers who are discriminated against in the workplace and then dismissed due to their medical condition or other factors the law protects them for, a qualified attorney advise the best courses of action to receive the benefits and payments they deserve.
Source: The South Bend Tribune, "Ex-worker sues Goodwill over firing," Virginia Black, Sep. 9, 2012
- Our firm handles cases of workers' compensation for various claims, as well as representing workers who have been denied benefits, as discussed in this post. For more information, visit our Pittsburgh workers' compensation page.