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Disability isn’t a free pass to insubordination; enforce behavior rules with all employees

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Some employees with genuine disabilities may think they can use their physical or mental conditions as an excuse to break workplace behavior rules. They can’t.

As long as those rules are clearly explained and enforced equally, you don’t have to listen to my-disability-made-me-do-it excuses. You can lower the boom.

Recent case: Postal Service employee Andrew Kondas suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression.

Kondas apparently didn’t care much for two other employees who were responsible for training programs: He announced that he didn’t want to attend training if he had to work with those two and called them a derogatory slang word for part of the anatomy.

He threatened to urinate on office equipment and “kick anyone’s ass” who interfered.

Citing its strict zero-tolerance policy against threats or violence, the post office disciplined Kondas. He sued for disability discrimination, claiming he had been singled out because of his disability—apparently arguing he was entitled to outbursts.

The court didn’t buy it. Kondas couldn’t point to anyone who had made similar threats without being punished. Plus, the court said it was clear that supervisors believed Kondas was a threat. Since the rule was fairly enforced in good faith, the case was dismissed. (Kondas v. Potter, No. 08-4015, 3rd Cir., 2009)

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