A recent employment law case evaluated whether a doctor should be considered an employer or an employee. In the disability discrimination case, an anesthesiologist was identified as an employee based on her employment agreement. However, after working for two years, she was promoted and became a shareholder and a member of the board of directors. Further, she began receiving a quarterly distribution based on her role on the board.
Several years later, the woman sustained serious injuries as the result of a kayaking accident and was unable to return to work full time. She then requested a leave of absence. Subsequently, the board voted to terminate the woman if she could not perform her duties as an anesthesiologist without restriction, and did not resign on her own. When she did not resign, she was fired. The woman then filed a lawsuit for disability discrimination pursuant o the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). The lower court determined that the doctor should be considered an employer rather than an employee, and as a result was not protected by the ADA. The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against qualified individuals as the result of a disability.
If you have questions about the ADA, or believe that you may have been discriminated against because of a disability, consulting with an experienced Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer is important to determine your rights and evaluate your next steps.