Articles Tagged with wrongful termination lawyer

Those who suffer from mental illness, especially a severe one, may be no stranger to difficulties with employment. You should know, however, there are certain legal protections that prevent your employer from taking adverse action against you solely because of your condition. bipolar worker termination lawyer

One bail bond services company in Southern California discovered this recently, having settled a disability discrimination lawsuit for $110,000. The settlement was reached more than a year after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed its complaint, asserting the company discriminated against the worker when it fired her without attempting to provide reasonable accommodation – as required by the law – when she requested a leave of absence to obtain medical attention for her untreated bipolar disorder. This, the EEOC alleged, was a violation of federal law – specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Continue reading

In the context of employment law, a pretext is basically a false reason given for an adverse employment action, such as a demotion, loss of benefits or wrongful termination. For example, perhaps your employer tells you that you are being fired due to budget cuts, but in reality, you’re being let go in retaliation because you recently filed a complaint of sexual harassment or asked for a disability accommodation. manager

So how do we prove the employer’s actions were discriminatory? The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the 1973 case of McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v. Green in which the court held that after plaintiff establishes a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden of proof then shifts to the employer to show that there was a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action. It’s then up to the plaintiff to show reasons why the true reason for the action was pretextual. This kind of evidence is critical because in most cases, employers don’t explicitly state their discriminatory motivations.

Some of the ways we can prove pretext are:

  • False or implausible business justification. Essentially, if the reason given leaves you shaking your head and thinking, “That makes no sense,” it’s probably evidence of pretext.
  • Changing reasons. First, it was because you had too many absences. But then later, it was because you were allegedly caught stealing. These kinds of starkly different justifications may be evidence of pretext.
  • Comparative evidence. Other similarly situated employees who weren’t in your protected class were treated more favorably.
  • Questionable timing. If you file a complaint for sexual harassment and are fired in short order, that timing calls into question the action. Some courts have found that pretext on this basis may exist even after weeks have elapsed between the protected activity and adverse employment action.

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A sharply divided California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight, issued a decision allowing a plaintiff to proceed with his associational disability discrimination claim against his employer. This was a reversal of the trial court’s opinion in Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highways Express Inc., wherein a father alleged he was fired for his need to assist his disabled son. gaveljan

This kind of “association” discrimination is outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which bars discrimination against an employee based on their association or relationship with an individual who has a known disability. The provision in 42 U.S.C. 12112(b)(4) means a company is forbidden from taking adverse action against a worker simply for associating with or having a relationship with someone who is disabled.

Under the ADA, companies are required to give qualified workers with disabilities reasonable accommodations. However, federal courts have held in prior cases (see Tyndall, 4th Cir. 1994, Overly, 6th Cir. 2006) that this association discrimination provision doesn’t mean workers are entitled to employment modifications in order to care for a disabled spouse or child. Continue reading