Employee with Chronic illnesses losing job because of attendance

After missing a week of work due to the flu, I was told I was being replaced because my boss "is used to having someone who is there all the time". The HR Director brought up all my sick days (for which I have doctor's excuses and which, totalled, do not exceed the company attendance policy allottment for days missed). Nothing was said about problems with my work other than I was not there enough to do it. The company attendance policy requires a meeting with your supervisor and a chance to explain your absences and a meeting with HR and your supervisor if your attendance is still a problem after the first meeting. I had no meetings with my supervisor or with HR. Neither my attendance nor my job performance were ever brought up or mentioned to me until the day I was told I was being replaced. To cover their bases and not actually "fire" me, the company offered me other positions which are basically demotions with $3 to $4 an hour paycuts. I am educated and have a lot of work experience specific tot he job I am doing. At no time did anyone mention to me my performance was suffering or tell me there were things I neede to improve upon. I was never given the chance to explain my absences (which were all documented) which are due to the fact that I have a two chronic illnesses, asthma and CFIDS.
Do I have any recourse here based under the ADA legislation or for the simple fact that I did not violate company attendance policies yet am being demoted for my attendance?

1 answer  |  asked May 23, 2005 1:07 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

Anthony Cameron
One Step at a Time

Depending upon your medical documentation, you may have a discrimination case under both the ADA and the Illinois Human Rights Act.

At a minimum, you should go to Springfield and talk with an intake worker in the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Take your last three years or so of medical records.

I think you should also talk to a Plaintiffs' attorney about whether the policy violation was a breach of contract. Under certain circumstances, that can be a breach of the employment contract, as defined by the handbook.

Your case is very fact-specific and there are a great many crucial facts missing from you description. A good employment lawyer will take you through a checklist of these and you will have peace knowing whether you should go beyond just the IDHR complaint.

In either event, if I were you, I would not let anything stop me from filing my own complaint with the IDHR. It doesn't cost anything and you'll know a good bit more after their investigation.

Anthony B. Cameron

posted by Anthony Cameron  |  Jun 1, 2005 10:44 AM [EST]

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