Q: Can I be fired because I need a break to monitor my blood pressure
Asked for break to check blood pressure made to wait more than hr had to take a few hrs and 3 pills to bring down asked if I need to return to work they told me no stay home. Next morning was fired cause of health concerns
A: Although your health-related situation might afford you some protection in the workplace if all statutory requirements were met first, the facts as presented here do not appear to satisfy applicable law. Why?
1. Because Florida is an “at will” state, which means private employers are free to hire, promote, demote, suspend, reinstate, fire and rehire employees for any reason at any time, i.e., “at will.”
2. The only thing Florida employers cannot do is make any employment decisions based upon the employee’s race, gender, age, handicap, disability, religion, marital status or national origin.
3. Having high blood pressure does not mean you are entitled to any sort of special treatment by Florida employers.
4. Although most do, Florida Employers are not required to give their employees any work-breaks for any reason.
5. Florida Employers are not required to give their employees work-breaks in order to "check their blood pressure."
A: The issue here is whether you were unlawfully fired due to a disability. Such a claim could be triggered if you notified your employer that you have a particular diagnosed disability and that you are requesting a reasonable accommodation (that is, a workable solution that is not unduly burdensome on the employer). High blood pressure, in itself, an extremely common condition, is probably not considered to be a "disability" under the disability discrimination laws (though I cannot be certain without conducting research). If, prior to the incident described, you did have some discussion with the employer about your medical problem and that you may need to sometimes take a short time off to handle it, then you possibly may have a potential claim, and you should schedule a consultation with an employment law attorney. If, on the other hand, you never discussed the problem with the employer and, out of the blue one day, said you need to stay home for a few hours, you probably don't have a potential discrimination claim. Either way, you may be able to get unemployment compensation (a/k/a Reemployment Assistance), which you don't need an attorney to apply for - but if applied for and denied, you may need legal assistance for that particular claim.
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