When it comes to winning a disability discrimination case, timing can often be an extremely important piece of the puzzle. For example, if you have proof that your employer took an adverse action against you very shortly after you requested a reasonable accommodation for your disability, that bit of “timing” evidence can be a major positive for your case. On the other hand, if your employer has proof that it contemplated firing you before it ever became aware of your disability, that evidence potentially can weaken your case. Note that it just weakens your case… it doesn’t necessarily destroy your case. Timing is just one piece of the puzzle among many and, like any other negative fact, it can be overcome. Your skilled New Jersey disability discrimination attorney can help you map out a possible pathway to success, even when some of the pieces of your case (like timing) seem to work against you.
As an example of what we mean, there’s the case of F.C., who worked for a healthcare company. In 2015, the employer began considering replacing F.C. A few months later, the employee developed health problems that eventually required heart surgery to address.
Three weeks after F.C. returned from his post-surgery leave, the employer fired him. The employee sued in federal court, alleging that the termination violated the ADA and the FMLA. The employer had some proof on its side. For one thing, the evidence showed that the employer first began considering firing F.C. before it even knew F.C. had a disability or would need a medical leave of absence from work. That seemed to point toward the firing as being legitimate and non-discriminatory.