When Your Boss Disagrees With Your Doctor
Fast-food worker says boss made her flush her medication
Employees on medical leave who are directed to return to work or be fired …
Staffers who are told to continue doing their job duties despite medical
Workers whose bosses refuse to allow them time off for medical treatment …
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for workers to find themselves stuck
between their employer’s demands and their doctor’s instructions.
The scenarios above are just a few examples of potentially unlawful treatment
that individuals are subjected to every day.
A recent case illustrates the difficult position workers may find themselves
in when their employers try to override medical orders.
Let’s look at what happened in this case and then discuss what it
means to you.
‘You need Jesus, not medication”
Cynthia Dunson worked as a shift manager for a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)
franchise. During her employment, she claims she performed all of her
job duties without issue.
However, Dunson says that she was fired because of her boss’s preconceived
notions about certain medications that Dunson was taking.
Here’s what happened: one day Dunson casually mentioned to her boss
that she needed to leave to get to a therapy appointment on time. She
added that she was under a doctor’s care and taking medication.
She claims that her boss asked what medications she was taking. After Dunson
disclosed the medications, she says that her boss replied, “You
cannot take that sh*t and work here.” He then allegedly demanded
that she flush her medications down the toilet, and sent another manager
with her to be a witness. The boss also allegedly stated that Dunson “needed
Jesus, not medication.”
After her next shift, Dunson says that her boss accused her of being high
on her medication. She assured him that she had disposed of all of it.
Dunson saw her doctor, who became alarmed that Dunson had abruptly stopped
her medication because doing so was unsafe. Dunson called her employer
while at the doctor so she could explain that she was under medical orders
to resume her prescriptions. She alleges that her boss told her not to
listen to listen to her doctor.
The doctor directed Dunson to stay out of work for the weekend. Dunson
says that her boss told her that she would not be allowed to come back
to work if she was going to let “her doctor put things in her head.”
Dunson stated that she was going to follow her doctor’s instructions.
She was fired.
Dunson complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
which is now suing on her behalf. The EEOC claims that Dunson is disabled
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because her bipolar disorder
limits her neurological functioning, and that her employer made prohibited
medical inquires and then fired her for her disability.
Now it will be up the company to defend its decision to fire Dunson.
Learn more about this case here.
What it means to you
According to the EEOC, the agency in charge of enforcing federal anti-discrimination
laws, employers may only ask about medical conditions under two circumstances:
- If the employer needs medical documentation to support an employee’s
request for an accommodation, or
- The employer has reason to believe an employee would not be able to perform
a job successfully or safely because of a medical condition
In this case, the employee claims that she was able to successfully perform
all of her job duties. Dunson made no requests for accommodation.
Contact us now
If you believe that your rights have been compromised because of a medical
condition or disability, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.