Readers in Fort Lauderdale are likely aware that there are laws in place to protect workers from being discriminated against by an employer because of a medical condition. This includes a condition that was present at the time of hiring, as well as the development of a new one. For those trying to run a business, however, this can be problematic when a medical condition adversely affects a worker’s ability to perform their job.
Despite no evidence having been found in an investigation by the Bureau of Labor and Industries, the Hillsboro Police Department in Oregon will reportedly have to continue to defend its decision not to allow a man to return to work after he underwent surgery for a brain tumor in 2012. It was reported that the man, who worked as a program specialist with the Hillsboro P.D., has filed a lawsuit against the department for what he alleged were violations of employment regulations regarding workers with disabilities and wrongful discharge.
According to reports, the man was diagnosed with a brain tumor and required surgery, as well as radiation therapy, to treat it. The department purportedly made the decision to put the man on unpaid leave for a year because the frequent time off his physician advised he may require would have affected his ability to effectively keep up with his work. It was not reported, however, whether or not Hillsboro P.D. intended to allow the man to return to his position once his health had stabilized.
Even if an employer believes they are acting in accordance with the federal and state employment laws, it will not necessarily protect them from lawsuits by disgruntled workers. Any business that is involved in an employment dispute may find it of benefit to consult with an attorney to discuss their case.
Source: The Oregonian, “Hillsboro denies employee claims of disability discrimination, wrongful termination in 2012 BOLI response,” Katherine Driessen, Nov. 1, 2013