Bellevue, NE asked in Employment Law for Nebraska

Q: My job for 11 years has been Monday through Friday, 7-3:30, since march we have been made to put in 5 hours over

My job for 11 years has been Monday through Friday, 7-3:30, since march we have been made to put in 5 hours over time every week and they have even forced us to work saturdays now too. I have extreme hypertension that is somewhat controlled by meds, since working all this overtime I have been feeling physically like faint and lightheaded. This company is working us like dogs. If my doctor gives me a note stating I need my overtime reduced or stopped, can I get fired?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II

A: The short answer is that the law has never stopped some sleazy outfit from firing a good employee. But you can sue their butts off.

I had a case like this several years ago, in California. Hypertension, high blood pressure and coronary bypass, rendered my plumbing supervisor client a Qualified Physically Disabled Individual. You could qualify for protection under the ADA or Nebraska's comparable law. Usually the state laws offer better protection. In Cal. you would be entitled to an individualized conference to discuss a reasonable accommodation for your physical disability. Under the ADA you are entitled to a reasonable accommodation but I don't know if they also impose burdens on the employer to be proactive with you to discuss it. What you need to do is to have your doctor write you a letter using the following terminology:

"You have a permanent medical condition that substantially limits your major life activities like WALKING and WORKING. (When you are out of breath due to the hypertension and cannot take another step, it is limiting your walking.) (the ADA has a list of major life activities, your doctor should list as many as possible) You need a REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION for your HYPERTENSION so that you can PERFORM THE ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE JOB. If your doctor thinks a reduction in your weekly work hours or daily work hours is an appropriate REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION, he should suggest what is best for you as the patient.

You need to keep track of all communications that you have with your employer. Use a date book and note the time and name/title of the person that you speak with. Confirm as many communications in writing as possible. Keep clean copies because they are evidence not scrap paper, and you don't want to have scrawls all over your best piece of evidence.

Contact a local Nebraska attorney who will know what the state laws are and if they favor you more than the ADA. Be prepared for a fight. The company obviously already views you and your co-workers as slaves to do bidding for their profit, they will view your request as a slave uprising and feel they have to put it down.

Just an opinion from California. Undisclosed facts could alter it substantially. Obtain a second opinion from a local Attorney that specializes. Call Julie Fowler on this site.

Julie Fowler agrees with this answer

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