Fired Because of PTSD? It Might Not Be a Case of Discrimination.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a legally recognized disability. As a recognizable disability, employers are expected to make reasonable accommodations to support an employee diagnosed with this condition. However, there are exceptions. As a result, it does not mean that termination of employment is always a form of disability.  

Reasonable Disclosure

When you complete an application for employment, you are not required to give the employer a detailed rundown of your medical status. Even if you are diagnosed with PTSD after you are hired, you're not required by law to disclose this information. 

However, if the condition will at all affect your ability to perform your job duty, you do want to speak up. Consider someone who is triggered by loud noises, for instance. Their employer can only make reasonable accommodations to ensure their work area is in a quieter area of the building if they know their need.

If the individual's work station is in a loud area, such as near a loading dock, and their work suffers, the employer could terminate their employment for a lack of performance. In this case, since the employer did not know about their need, it'd be hard to determine they were discriminating against the employee.

Undue Burden

It's important to understand that employers are only required to make reasonable accommodations; they do not have to completely change their business model to accommodate an employee with PTSD if it puts a burden on their business. 

For instance, an EMT who is triggered by the sight of blood or other injuries might have a hard time completing their job, as it's their primary role to respond to emergencies. After all, if the individual can't respond to emergencies, they cannot fulfill their intended role. 

If the employer has determined that there is no way they can reasonably accommodate the needs of the individual with another role, they might be within their legal right to terminate their employment. According to the law, any accommodations have to be fair for the employee, but also makes sense for the employer. On the other hand, if the employer terminates an employee, even though their needed accommodations wouldn't affect their business, they could be engaging in discriminatory behavior. 

If you have you been fired because of PTSD, don't take it upon yourself to determine if you have been discriminated against. It's best to speak with a disability discrimination attorney who can examine your situation and determine whether or not you are a victim of discrimination.