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employee with chronic illness

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  • employee with chronic illness

    What are the laws for a small company in PA (about 10 employees) that has an employee that has a chronic illness (MS)? If at some point the employee can no longer do the job adequately, can they let her go without fear of being sued for discrimination? Do they have to document anything prior to doing so? The job is not a physical job, it's primarily phone work, but the employee often can't even make it in to work. The possibility of going out on disability was already discussed with the employee but she refused to consider it because of the cut in income she'd have to take.

  • #2
    Since you have less than 15 employees, you are not subject to Federal discrimination laws, including the ADA.

    Under PA law any employer with more than 4 employees is subject to state discrimination laws, including those regarding disability.

    So any claim the employee could make would be that the state level only.

    Having a disability does not entitle her to any special privileges with regards to attendance. Unless PA has their own version of the ADA (which I do not believe they do - check with the PA Human Relations Commission) you are entitled to hold her to the same standards that another employee would be held to.

    That being said, if most of her work is done by phone, is it possible to set her up to work from home on occasion? Is there another accomodation you can REASONABLY make that would help her out? You're not required to, not at your size employer, but it would help protect you against any claims.

    If there is no reasonable accomodation you can make that would help her and if she is unable to fulfil her duties, you can legally let her go.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.