The need to take leave from work because of a medical condition can be difficult and challenging for an employee.
Options Under FMLA and ADA
There are different options for employees that may need leave from work because of a serious health condition. FMLA only provides leave time to seriously-ill employees if they have worked at least 1,250 hours and have been employed for a full year by an employer who has greater than 50 employees. Another option is the Americans with Disabilities Act [“ADA”] which requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” to their employees with “disabilities.” Disabled employees must be accommodated regardless of length of employment, and a “reasonable accommodation” can be leave time.
In order to be considered “disabled” under the ADA, an employee must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits the employee in one or more “major life activities” (e.g. eating, sleeping, walking, and concentrating), or substantially limits a major body function or organ (e.g. immune system, respiratory system, heart, and lungs etc.) Many serious health conditions that FMLA would cover, and for which an employee could take leave, under the FMLA, if he or she worked for a large employer and met the one-year work requirement, are also “disabilities” under the ADA, and, in these cases, the ADA can be used as support a request for leave time.
If you have experienced disability discrimination, you should consult with an experienced FMLA and ADA employment attorney. Please contact our office for a free initial consultation or fill out our online contact form.