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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5052
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I wish to determine if my wife has grounds to file an EEOC

Resolved Question:

I wish to determine if my wife has grounds to file an EEOC complaint against her school.

On Friday, August 09. my wife's left foot was put into a cast following surgery. Her Doctor gave her a note indicating she could return work, as early as August 10, but had to be in a wheelchair and non-weight bearing to her left leg. She then proceeded to work and provided her boss, a school principal, with the Doctor's note. Her boss then stated to her, that the School District would accommodate her at work (she is a school teacher) My wife must be in a wheelchair until she recovers in approximately 12 weeks.
She then returned home, and received a call from her boss approximately two hours later. Her boss asked her to return to his office to re-discuss her surgery. Her boss met her and me in his office and stated that he would accommodate her surgery by requiring her to take sick leave until she healed. Her boss did not want her to work because he felt that a child could accidently hit her foot, and he was concerned about her ability to leave her classroom in a timely manner during an emergency.
My wife has since received a letter discussing the second meeting and requiring that her doctor provide more details about her restrictions.
My wife is hesitant is submitting an EEOC complaint against her Boss because of possible harassment and hostility.
I feel that she should submit an EEOC complaint immediately. On a side note, one of her co-workers uses a permanent walking device for her daily movement in and around her classroom.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's situation and hope I can help.

I need a bit more information before I can provide you with a complete and thorough answer to your question.

Can you tell me why your wife had surgery? Does she have a disability that caused her to need the surgery or did she injure and/or break her foot?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

She needed corrective surgery to remove a bunion. If not fixed, she would have been unable to walk on her left foot. She was becoming increasingly disabled. Her expected recovery is approximately twelve weeks in a cast, with movement in a wheelchair


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello William,

My girlfriend and my mother both suffer from bunions so I fully understand how debilitating they can be and the need for surgery to prevent the condition from getting worse. (My girlfriend got the surgery and is much better, but my mother seems to have waited too long and now has a permanently deformed foot, making her movement limited).

Since bunions are permanent and get worse over time unless they are removed they would qualify as a disability under the ADA and Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Under the ADA and Fair Employment and Housing Act, her employer is required to provide her with a reasonable accommodation, as long as she would be able to complete the essential functions of her job with one, and providing the accommodation is not an undue burden on her employer.

In your wife's case, she definitely would have a valid complaint, since her job teaching does not require that she be up and walking. The concern that her boss has is also discriminatory in nature, since the building must be accommodated under the ADA, and it would definitely be illegal to discriminate on wheelchair bound employees on the basis that they couldn't leave the classroom fast enough in a fire.

The other concern is also minimal, since the likelihood of re-injury is minimal, and it is your wife's choice whether or not to take that risk. It also would be unlikely that 'allowing your wife' to take sick time against her will would be considered a reasonable accommodation, since she is still able to work and wants to work and should be able to use her paid time off in case of other emergencies that may happen.

I do understand your wife's concerns. However, it is completely illegal for the school district to retaliate against your wife for filing a complaint with either the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and/or the EEOC. (This would be true even if she doesn't succeed in suing the district for discrimination. If her employer subjects her to worse treatment due to filing a complaint, she has an additional cause of action for retaliation).

I would suggest that your wife file with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing as well as the EEOC, since there is a broader definition of disability under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Disabled Persons Act and it is generally more favorable than the EEOC to employees.

She can file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing using the information available online (as well as filing online) here:

http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints_ComplaintProcess.htm

and/or file a charge with the EEOC using the information here:

http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

I hope the above information is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any follow up or clarifying questions.

Thanks and best of luck!




Joseph, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 5052
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
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