Federal: EEOC Laws, ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act 1990
- prohibits discriminatory barriers for qualified people with mental disabilities
- prohibits treating a qualified employee with a disability unfairly
- prohibits treating an employee unfavorably because they have a history of mental disability
- employer must provide reasonable accommodations related to disability
- a reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment (or in the way things are usually done) to help the person apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment
- defines as a mental or physical health condition that "substantially limits one or more major life activities."
- forbids discrimination in all aspects of employment- including hiring and firing
- prohibits harassment of employees for having a disability
- harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision
State: Virginia Human Rights Act
- covers everything the federal law does
As you can see I absolutely qualify for either a state for federal lawsuit. My situation meets every requirement as stated above. I also had meticulously collected audio recordings of conversations, documentation, and witnesses to make my case bullet proof because I knew something wasn't right about the way I was being treated. Any lawyer would love to get a case easy as this.
Virginia is an At-Will Employment state which means you can be fired for any reason and with or without notice. Any reason, as long as the situation isn't covered under the state and federal laws. You could be fired without explanation because he decided he didn't want a black person working for him anymore. But he isn't obligated to tell you as to why you're being fired. My former employer brought me into his office with my blog open the computer screen and with some of my posts printed out with highlighted sections. He used those and notes he had taken while watching my videos, as what he saw were valid reasons to fire me. Not anything I had done, but the words I use to communicate the struggle I go through every day. It was loud and clear as to what he wanted me to understand about my termination. Being fired over a disability was broadcasted loud and clear.
So I pretty much have a slam dunk case. Obvious workplace discrimination, solid proof, and an employer who willfully implied why I was being let go.
Here's the kicker. The federal law applies ONLY to businesses that have 15 or more full time employees.
State law applies ONLY to businesses that have 6 or more full time employees.
The shop I worked at had 4 full time employees when I worked there, if you include me.
I absolutely, 100%, do not pass go & collect $200, have any legal standing in this situation.
The laws do not cover me because of the employee minimum requirements. I cannot file a complaint, I cannot file a suit at the federal and state level.
"This is discrimination, it's illegal!"
No, it's not. He did not break any laws by discriminating against me and then telling me about it. What he did was 100% within the law. What he did is not illegal.
But it is wrong.
If you would like to help out in the situation since the law is not on my side, I have a Gofundme campaign as well as a Paypal.
I also have a wishlist for doggie items such as food, shampoo, and some constructive toys to keep them mentally stimulated. Taking care of my dogs has been my main source of daily comfort. Happy dogs come from proper day to day training, exercise, discipline, and being psychologically challenged. They keep my emotions in check. They let me know when my moods are off and I am unable to notice on my own. They're a consistent motivation for being held responsible and keeping my mental state under surveillance. Any gift for the dogs actually contributes directly to my mental well being.
Contributing to help better my situation isn't just a donation, it's an investment. This is time where I will be busting ass to achieve and maintain stability and launch off into a new job since bike shops don't hire in the winter, and I'm sure my situation has gotten me blacklisted from bike shop employment everywhere. A risk I knew I was taking.
I'll come out on top, the way to get there isn't clear yet but I'll get there. I've just hit a tough spot through no fault of my own. It's the fault of the stigma surrounding mental illness because of ignorance and unnecessary fear.
I'm struggling pretty hard right now with my car payments and phone bill. My car insurance has recently lapsed because I couldn't afford it so I'm without the ability to drive currently. To the people who have been generous and donated I can't thank you enough. It's what has been keeping me afloat financially and psychologically. I'm not just dealing with sudden job loss, I'm dealing with a health crisis and you've been there for me. Thank you. To those just finding this post and learning about my story, any and all help is appreciated.
Live locally? If you have anything to donate please let me know. People have given me toiletries, dog food, and other gracious gifts.
If your financial situation is tight or you don't believe in handing out money, but you still want to help, please share this post. Share my GoFundMe campaign, my Paypal, the Mad Bike Woman Facebook page posts- share everything. I don't have any legal power but I want my story heard. Anything and everything is greatly appreciated.