Did you know that if you get migraines at work, there is a possibility you may qualify for legal protection and disability benefits if you get fired from your job. Migraine headaches fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act, so you are eligible to receive compensation for any time missed from work.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) empowers you to legally take up to 12 weeks off from your work each year without any pay or fear of losing your job. According to FMLA conditions if you’ve a group health insurance through work, it will remain active. This is a great news for all those who get frequent migraine attacks, because now they can stay at home and try out new migraine treatments or pain relievers without having to call in sick if their headache symptoms-cramps, dizziness, vomiting, sharp pain-become overbearing.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act covers migraines, but there is no guarantee that you job is safe. If you’re suffering from chronic migraine, and need days to recover from your attacks, or you’re in habit to try unfamiliar headache remedies, then your employer will try to find your replacement on the days you call in sick, either permanently…or temporarily. Even with ADA, there is a grave risk of losing your job due to migraine headaches. this is true even if you’ve disclosed your migraine history to your employer beforehand.
“It’s not easy to deal with employees who do not visibly appear to have any kind of impairment whatsoever, but are dealing wit the issues of fatigue or stress.” -Businessweek
ADA redefines “disability”
In early 2011, the definition of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act was further expanded in response to the continuing discrimination of disabled persons in workplaces and even courtrooms. While earlier the employees were required to prove that their migraines have become a disability, now the employers have to show that migraines in fact do not diminish one’s ability to work efficiently.
In its early years, the ADA effectively defined disability as a mental or physical condition that significantly impaired one’s ability to lead a decent life. So what’s the catch here? Earlier the employee had to prove in court that he was unable to do his or her job due to their disability, and in most cases, their cases were thrown out by the judge. There was simply no evidence to support their claim.
Today, the ADA clearly specifies certain illnesses that usually qualify as a disability, making it difficult for judges or employers to ignore an employee’s request for disability benefits.
- Cerebral palsy
- Major depression
How do these new ADA amendments help migraineurs?
Few years back, when you filed for disability benefits, the burden to convince the judge about your disability was upon you. For people with “invisible diseases” like migraines, this was next to impossible. Now, it’s employers duty to make necessary arrangements in workplaces for people with disabilities-making it convenient for them to do their job. So for any migraine patient, it could be granting permission to wear a migraine hat or sunglasses, or ensure a scent free environment, or allowing them time to successfully recuperate from their crippling attacks.