Migraines and Workplace Discrimination: What Are My Rights?
Many people suffer from periodic or chronic migraines. Migraines cause a number of symptoms that make it difficult or impossible for a person to perform their usual daily functions, including their job. Unfortunately, many people do not realize the extent of migraine symptoms, and it is not unusual for migraine sufferers to experience workplace discrimination.
Migraine sufferers should understand that employment laws protect them from workplace discrimination on the basis of their medical condition. Employees in Allen, Plano, and Frisco, TX, who have faced negative repercussions due to their migraines should consult with employment discrimination lawyer Dan A. Atkerson to explore their legal options regarding compensation for damages.
How Are Migraines Different from the Average Headache?
Individuals who have never suffered a migraine often don’t understand how it is different from the average headache. Migraines are a neurological condition. They can cause a number of different symptoms that vary in severity and duration. Common migraine symptoms include:
- Throbbing pain in one or both sides of the head
- Extreme sensitivity to light and/or sound
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
- Nausea or vomiting
A migraine usually lasts anywhere from four to 72 hours. While symptoms are the most severe, the condition is truly debilitating, making it nearly impossible to work or be around other people.
Are Migraines Classified as a Disability?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it illegal for an employer with 15 or more employees to discriminate against any worker with a disability. The ADA defines a disability as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities.
Under the ADA guidelines, migraines may be defined as a disability, especially if they are frequent or severe. Employees simply must be able to demonstrate that their migraines are serious enough to limit their ability to perform work duties within the work environment.
Workplace Discrimination Against Migraine Sufferers
Workplace discrimination against migraine sufferers can take many different forms. Examples of workplace discrimination include:
- Denying a request for reasonable accommodations
- Denying a raise or promotion
- Denying training opportunities or a new position
- Issuing disciplinary action related to time off for a migraine
- Wrongful termination
Employment Law Protections
There are employment laws that provide protections which can be applied to migraine sufferers. These include the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- ADA - The ADA protects employees from discrimination on the basis of a medical condition. Under this law, employers must make reasonable accommodations that allow workers with a disability to perform essential job duties. Potential accommodations for migraine sufferers include providing noise-canceling headphones, providing a low-light work setting, prohibiting the use of certain chemicals or perfumes, or offering the ability to telecommute.
- FMLA - The FMLA allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year to address serious medical conditions that prevent them from performing work duties. During the time off employers must hold the employee’s position, and continue to provide group health insurance coverage. Employees who suffer from migraines may use FMLA to protect their job while taking time off to manage their illness.
If you have experienced workplace discrimination related to migraines, then your employment rights have been violated, and you may be due financial compensation for damages. To discuss the details of your situation with employment discrimination lawyer Dan A. Atkerson, contact our law firm online, or call us at (214) 383-3606.