Can an employer terminate me for having a flatulence problem? I have tried every means to control it, it is not a everyday occurrence or every minute occurence but one co-worker is making my life hell by her complaining about it. HR has intervened and given me a pillow to muffle the sound and some carbon pillows to subdue the scent. I have been to the Dr and she has written a letter telling the company that I cannot change my medication. I have stopped eating broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onions, wheat bread so that I don't pass an objective oder. Today I have brought in a wax warmer with the scent of cinnamon and she is complaining about that. HR has told me that one more complaint (after they give me an air purifier on Monday)and I will be terminated. I am in tears. I have been with this company for 10 years and have always had the flatulence problem. I am not doing it on purpose. How do I know if she lies and complains that I am still offending her - HR will terminate me. This is a private company with 400 some employees in this building. I love the job I do - but I can't afford to be terminated.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Texas
This is my first try. I am in tears
Hello,Do you have a recognized medical condition that is causing this side effect and is your employer aware of the condition?
Hello again,I see that you read my information request from earlier today but I never received a response. If you still need assistance I will need answers to those questions before I can answer your question. If you tried to respond, then it didn't go through and I will need you to try again. I apologize if that is the case. In any event, the questions were:Do you have a recognized medical condition that is causing this side effect and is your employer aware of the condition?
I do not knowingly have a recognized medical condition (per all my Drs.) that is causing this side effect. Just that it might be a side effect of the medications I am on. My employer is well aware of it.
That isn't exactly responsive to the question I asked. So, I will rephrase it. What is the condition that you have that you have to take medication for and does your employer know about that one?
Yes, I take several medications for high cholesterol, Prilosec for acid stomach, antidepressants (I am genetically mildly bi-polar) inflammatories for osteo arthritis, any or all of these can produce gas and my dr stated that she cannot change my medication in a letter to my employer 3 years ago. Does that help.
Hello again,Alright well this is not an easily resolved issue because there is not just one identifiable reason for your flatulence. Normally an employer cannot terminate an employee just because the employee has a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, an employee with a disability can be terminated for work performance or misconduct issues. In this case, it appears that you have no control over the issue, but that there is apparently an effect on the workplace. If you have requested a reasonable accommodation of your problem, which you need to formally do, and your employer determines that accommodating you any further will cause them an undue hardship on their operations, then they could deny you and ultimately terminate you if you cannot conform to workplace standards. That said, I believe that they will have a very hard time articulating their position and how it is not unlawfully discriminatory. In the end, I can't say what the EEOC and the courts would do. However, if you are ultimately terminated for this you definitely will want to file a complaint with the EEOC and sit down with a local employment law attorney who deals with ADA discrimination issues, to see whether they would be willing to take your case.
Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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