I have Bipolar 1 I am on a volunteer fire dept where my dad is chief. A month ago me and him got in a fight at the dept. I was suspended for 30 days. Now the City Council is looking at drop me from there books afraid that I might do something out on scene saving someone's life. What can I or should do?
2 Answers from Attorneys
What you should do is whatever is necessary to take care of your mental health. From your post, the fire department has a very valid and reasonable concern. There is also no legal right to be a VOLUNTEER firemen.
Whether you qualify as an employee protected against discrimination under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may depend upon what, if any, compensation or other benefits you obtain from volunteering with the Fire Department. Unless you are compensated in some way for your work, it is unlikely that you will be able to assert a claim as an employee of the Department.
You may, however, have the right to be protected against disability discrimination under Title II of the ADA - which applies to government employers or under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act - which applies to entities receiving federal funding.
Individuals with disabilities such as bipolar disorder cannot be excluded from participating in a government funded activity, if they meet essential eligibility requirements for the program in question, simply because they are regarded as having a disability and they are entitled to reasonable accommodations for disability. Programs are, however, entitled to insist that participants comply with general conduct requirements, and may exclude individuals if they present an undue threat to the health and safety of themselves or others and if this threat cannot be eliminated with the use of reasonable accommodations. However, whether a participant presents such a threat must be based on an individualized and objective assessment by a qualified health practitioner, and cannot be based on stereotypical assumptions about persons with disabilities.
To obtain more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, you may want to look at the information posted at www.ada.gov. For more information about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act go to http://www.dol.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/sec504.htm.
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