When Sleep Apnea Affects Your Work

If you are looking for an attorney to represent you in a case related to sleep apnea, every state and local bar association has directories of their members, often listed by specialty. Likewise, the National Lawyers Guild also has a referral panel.

If you need an attorney specifically for a disability claim, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (800/431-2804 or www.nosscr.org) may also refer you to someone in your area.

However, before you expend any resources, keep in mind that some government agencies may provide you with the appropriate information and channels to resolve a problem. See below for a list of nonprofit and government agencies that provide information and employment-related services.

Once you determine that you need an attorney—whether for a disability case, employment problems, or other issue—your attorney should have some experience in the area. It is generally advisable to speak with at least a few lawyers before deciding whose services to retain; asking the following questions of them may help you make an educated choice:

  • how long have you been practicing?
  • what experience do you have in this area?
  • how many similar cases have you taken in this area?
  • how much do you know about sleep apnea?
  • have you attended any relevant seminars or courses?
  • what do you charge, if anything, for an initial consultation?
  • do you accept cases on a contingency basis or only on a fee basis?
  • what do you estimate your fees for your services and expenses will be?
  • how long do you estimate it will take to resolve this issue?
  • do you have malpractice insurance?

You may also want to call the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against the attorneys you are considering. The lawyers’ associations and some states also keep a record of attorneys against whom complaints have been lodged or legal action has been taken, but these vary by state.

If you become unhappy with your attorney, you are not bound to have that person represent you for the duration of the claim. You may simply inform the lawyer that you wish to retain other legal counsel. However, you should expect to pay for the services rendered up to that point and for the time that it will take for the succeeding attorney to become familiar with your case. Generally, your file belongs to you.

If you have questions regarding how your sleep apnea may affect your employment, you can contact these organizations and government agencies:

Job Accommodation Network

West Virginia University
PO Box 6080
Morgantown, WV 26506-6080
The Job Accommodation Network is an international consulting service that provides free information about job accommodation and the employability of people with disabilities. JAN is a part of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

Workplace Fairness

44 Montgomery Street, Suite 2080
San Francisco, CA 94104
Workplace Fairness is a non-profit organization that provides information, education, and assistance to individual workers and their advocates nationwide and promotes public policies that advance employee rights. Our goals are that workers and their advocates are educated about workplace rights and options for resolving workplace problems and that policymakers, members of the business community, and the public at large view the fair treatment of workers as both good business practice and sound public policy.

Patient Advocate Foundation

753 Thimble Shoals Blvd, Suite B
Newport News, VA 23606
The Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides mediation and arbitration services to patients to remove obstacles to healthcare including medical debt crisis, insurance access issues and employment issues for patients with chronic, debilitating and life-threatening illnesses. They assist patients with medical debt crisis, insurance access issues, and job retention issues.

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

The Department’s mission is to enforce the law, to defend the interests of the United States according to the law, and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. The Department of Justice can provide you with information on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

U.S. Department of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20210

The U.S. Department of Labor is charged with preparing the American workforce for new and better jobs and ensuring the adequacy of America’s workplaces. The Department of Labor can give you information on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

1801 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20507
The mission of the EEOC is to promote equal opportunity in employment through administrative and judicial enforcement of the federal civil rights laws and through education and technical assistance. If you feel that you have been discriminated at work because of a disability, you can contact the EEOC.

U.S. Department of Transportation

400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20590
The mission of the Department of Transportation is to serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets the country’s vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people. The DOT can help you to find information about transportation issues as they relate to people with disabilities.

The American Sleep Apnea Association does not recommend any specific attorney or firm.