Schedule change and rush-hour traffic at issue in employee’s suit

Wisconsin residents who are stressed by traffic may sympathize with a New Jersey woman who has filed a lawsuit against a former employer. In the disability discrimination case, she alleges that her wrongful termination was due to her inability to drive in rush-hour settings. It is reported that the woman took time off for medical issues in 2012 as she suffered from anxiety and depression. The suit indicates that these issues are aggravated by crowded roadways.

The woman requested an adjustment in her work schedule upon her return so that she could avoid stressful traffic conditions. Her suit indicates that her medical condition serves as criteria for being categorized as disabled. The initial request for a modified schedule was approved, but the woman indicates that she received poor performance ratings not long after returning from leave. She was then demoted from her position as a marketing coordinator to clerical duties. She was fired shortly after filing a complaint with the employer’s ethics board.

The wrongful termination claim seeks lost wages and benefits along with other damages. A professor indicated that she may have a reasonable case, especially if the quality of her work upon her return was consistent with the quality prior to going on leave. If the work proves to be similar in quality, her demotion may appear suspicious.

An individual with a long-term disability or medical condition may wonder about his or her rights in the workplace, especially if the actions of an employer seem unjustified in light of the quality of work provided. It may be helpful to meet with an attorney to discuss perceived workplace discrimination or other issues of concern to evaluate whether these actions are legal or whether there are legitimate grounds for litigation.

Source: The Huffington Post, “New Jersey Woman Sues Former Employer After Rush-Hour Traffic Schedule Request“, Ryan Grenoble, June 30, 2014

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