A recent disability discrimination case evaluated whether an employer can
lawfully fire an employee for being too distracted from his job duties
while caring for his father. The court determined that it could not, and
that the employee could successfully bring a case for “associational”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from taking
adverse actions “because of the known disability of an individual
with whom the qualified individual is known to have a relationship or
association.” In order to bring a claim for “associational
discrimination” the employee must show that he or she is qualified
for the job at the time, was subjected to an adverse employment action,
that the employer was aware that the employee had a relative or associate
with a disability, and that an inference exists that the relative/associate’s
disability was a determining factor in the employer’s decision.
Further, an employer may not make decisions based on the ‘belie[f]
that the [employee] would have to miss work’ in order to take care
of a disabled person.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered any type of disability
discrimination, consulting with an experienced
Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer is important to determine your next steps.
In this instance, a sales consultant for Hartford Insurance Company was
occasionally late to work due to the demands of caring for his father
who had recently suffered a stroke. Despite being an “exempt”
employee, he was written up for being late. After arriving 26 minutes
late one day, he was terminated.
The court determined that based on the facts of the case, i.e. that he
was required to care for his father, that his employer was aware of the
father’s disability, and that he asked to change his hours but was
denied, that a reasonable inference existed that he was wrongfully terminated
because of his father’s disability contrary to the ADA.
For more information about disability discrimination, or if you believe
that you have suffered any type of employment discrimination, please
contact the top Georgia discrimination lawyers at Buckley Beal LLP for an immediate consultation.