Can You Get Fired for Having Sleep Apnea?

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Sleep apnea just doesn’t affect your sleep at night. The condition can leave you drowsy and less alert during the day. Those who experience sleep deprivation and have to go to work in the morning may be frequently late to work, make mistakes due to poor concentration, and suffer from poor performance. Unfortunately, these factors can lead to termination.

Can You get fired for having sleep apnea?

Is Sleep Apnea a Disability?

While sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects 22 million Americans1 the Social Security Administration no longer lists sleep apnea as a disability.2 You can only qualify for disability if this condition causes other health problems such as high blood pressure or chronic pulmonary disease.

Is Falling Asleep at Work Classified as Gross Misconduct?

Fifteen percent of workers have fallen asleep on the job at least once per week.3 Sleep deprivation can cause you to doze off during work hours, which can cause serious consequences to your employer. For many professionals such as police officers, air traffic controllers or bus drivers falling asleep can also be hazardous to others. For this reason, most companies classify falling asleep at work as gross misconduct and may use it as grounds for termination.

Is Sleeping on the Job Insubordination?

Many human resource departments are sympathetic to a tired workforce. For this reason, they may issue stern warnings about sleeping on the job before they take immediate steps to the termination.  For workers, this is an opportunity to take their sleep disorder seriously and get a diagnosis and treatment.

Can An Employer Refuse to Hire You if You Have Sleep Apnea?

No, an employer can not refuse to hire you if you have sleep apnea. In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act added an amendment that the definition of a person with a disability was changed to include those with a “disability corrected by an assistive device like a CPAP machine”.

Should You Tell Your Employer That You Have Sleep Apnea?

You are generally under no obligation to share your health history and medical conditions with a potential employer. However, certain jobs require you to disclose if you have sleep apnea, including truck driving, physical labor jobs, and others.

Can Employers Require Sleep Apnea Testing?

Currently, federal law does not require testing for sleep apnea. The law does not mandate sleep apnea testing. However, employers in certain industries (like travel or logistics for those who drive trucks, trains, etc.) can suggest the idea of taking a sleep test for new job candidates and even existing employees. The law can mandate that an employee must take the proper steps to managing sleep apnea if they have the condition.

Getting the proper testing and treatment for sleep apnea can improve productivity and save lives. Sleep Care Online can help with that,  and you can even get the test done in the comfort of your own home.

How do You Prove Sleep Apnea is Service Connected?

Most companies will accept an official diagnosis of sleep apnea. They may work toward getting you proper treatment so that your work performance and your health can improve.  Receiving a diagnosis is easy. With Sleep Care Online you can take a sleep apnea test in your own home.

Here’s how it works:

  1. With the Complete Care Package, schedule a 10-minute telehealth visit with a healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms, upcoming sleep study, test results, and treatment options.
  2. A multi-night, disposable home sleep apnea test is mailed to your home for completion at your convenience.
  3. A physician analyzes the sleep data and provides a prescription if needed.
  4. Schedule an optional follow-up appointment (additional fee applies).
  5. We connect you to sleep experts who can offer customized sleep therapy options, assistance in equipment purchase, and initial set-up.

 Order a Home Sleep Test Today!

Can You Receive Disability Pay for Sleep Apnea?

While sleep apnea may have a significant impact on your work and life, you are unlikely to receive disability coverage unless the sleep apnea has led to other health conditions. Sleep disorders left untreated can cause conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.4 Why wait for your health to fail because of lack of sleep?


  1. Sleep Apnea Information for Clinicians. Accessed March 2020.
  2. Social Security Administration Disability Evaluation Under Social Security. Accessed March 2020.
  3. Virgin Pulse Institute 76 percent of the workforce is tired most weekdays, and 15 percent have fallen asleep on the job at least once per week says new study. April 2014. Accessed March 2020.
  4. What is Sleep Apnea? Accessed March 2020.

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