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What to expect with wrongful termination and EEOC

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  • What to expect with wrongful termination and EEOC

    I just started working at a large company in TX with federal contracts. After working there for a week, I contacted their EAP to determine how to disclose my disability (bipolar 2) to simply ask for some flexible scheduling (be at work by 9 and get my 8 hours in). I followed the EAP's instructions to a T in an email, and I was subsequently terminated. I was floored at how blatant it was. They told me I could not work there with that diagnosis.

    I immediately went to the EEOC with the email chain, and the representative told me it looked like an "open and shut case." They should get their letter tomorrow that a claim has been filed. So what? It doesn't look to me like they are even concerned if they were going to be that blatant about it. What should I expect from this? Do they really not realize what they did was illegal? They told me bp2 was not protected by ADA when I know for a fact that it is. Their employment lawyer cannot be that ignorant.

    I heard it is even worse because they have federal contracts, but really, it doesn't look like the get fined or anything by the government so I am not sure what to think. And if they offer to reinstate me, won't they make my life hell?

  • #2
    Actually, the ONLY condition that is guaranteed protected under the ADA is HIV/AIDS. EVERY other condition, without exception, has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis to determine whether or not, in this specific individual, the condition in question, whatever it is, adversely affects a major life function. While one could not truthfully say that any particular condition is not covered by the ADA, it would also not be true to say that any particular condition, with that one exception, is covered either. The most accurate phrasing would be that it CAN be covered, depending on how it affects the individual.

    Since my crystal ball is out for re-calibration all I can tell you that will happen is this:

    1.) The EEOC will investigate to see if illegal discrmination/wrongful termination occurred
    2.) Several months from now, you will be notified of their findings
    3.) Regardless of their findings, you will be issued a right to sue letter (it is VERY slightly possible that they will handle your case themselves, but I wouldn't count on that happening)
    4.) You will have 90 days from the issuance of the right to sue letter to file a lawsuit.

    All of the above presumes that you, the EEOC and the employer will not reach a settlement due to mediation or other reasons at some point during the process. There's no possible way we can be more specific than that.
    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.


    • #3
      I read, though...

      ...that they cannot fire me for simply asking for an accomodation, and that is precisely what they did. I was not even given the opportunity to provide proof of happened that fast.

      The EEOC rep feels that they will come to mediation ASAP because it was so blatantly obvious, but I am not even sure I want to deal with them again.


      • #4
        No one said they can fire you for asking for an accomodation. I thought you were asking what was going to happen next, and that's what I can't tell you. I provided the usual steps in the process; is there something more you were expecting?
        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.


        • #5
          No...I was just confused

          when you said something about my disability may not be covered. I was just wondering that even if it weren't determined to be a disability, I read somewhere that I would still be protected and deemed "wrongfully terminated" since I was simply asking for an accomodation, and the diagnosis was the sole reason for dismissal.

          Do you know how many companies try to mediate? The EEOC person said that they have 10 days to mediate after receipt of the letter before the investigation ensues. I was just wondering if many took that option.


          • #6
            Okay, I guess we were talking at cross purposes.

            You are correct that you cannot be fired for asking for an accomodation. Many people mistakenly believe that there is a list of conditions that are always covered under the ADA and it sounded as if you were one of them; for your future benefit and for the benefit of anyone else reading this I was attempting to explain how it really worked. I didn't mean to imply that the employer would be blameless if it should turn out that you are not, actually disabled under the statute. That is not the case. It sounds like a pretty cut and dried wrongful term suit to me, too.

            I have no information on the percentage of companies who go through mediation, sorry. To the best of my knowledge more do than don't, but I don't have any more detailed info than that. You might be able to find more information on the EEOC web site; it's been a while since I last was any more deeply into their site than the home page but I seem to recall that they have some statistics there.
            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.