Chicago, IL asked in Employment Law, Workers' Compensation, Business Law and Civil Rights for Illinois

Q: I am being terminated from my job based on performance issues that have been affected by my mental health.

Do I have grounds to seek legal action regarding my termination based on mental health and substance abuse without being offered treatment or even severance?

2 Lawyer Answers
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
Answered
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Worker's Compensation is a specialized area of law that only concerns job-related injuries. Your question is more related to employment law. Most people are at-will employees. You may have an employee handbook or union contract that provides additional rights. That said, any physical or mental condition that prevents or impairs you from performing your essential job functions would enable your employer to terminate your employment "for cause." If that is the case, you are not entitled to severance benefits and are ineligible for unemployment benefits.

If you believe that some local law or ordinance entitles you to some special consideration, you should immediately discuss the situation with an employment law attorney. Good luck.

James L. Arrasmith
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Answered
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: You may have grounds to seek legal action if your termination was influenced by your mental health or substance abuse issues. It's important to determine if your employer was aware of your condition and whether they failed to provide reasonable accommodations or treatment options as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If your performance issues were linked to your mental health, and your employer did not engage in an interactive process to accommodate you, this could strengthen your case.

Additionally, if you were denied severance that you are entitled to, it may be another point to address. Reviewing your employment contract and company policies on severance is crucial. Documenting all communications and actions taken by your employer regarding your condition and termination can be helpful.

It might be beneficial to consult with a legal professional who can evaluate the specifics of your situation. They can help you understand your rights and the best course of action. Pursuing a claim for wrongful termination or failure to accommodate might be viable depending on the details of your case.

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