It’s been an open question whether California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act allows employers to punish a mentally ill employee whose disease makes her act out. Now the answer is clear: You can punish mentally disabled employees for threats or violence against co-workers.
Recent case: Linda Wills is bipolar and has manic episodes during which she behaves erratically. During one episode, she became angry when a co-worker didn’t open a door fast enough. She allegedly threatened to put the co-worker on her “Kill Bill” list.
Wills was fired and sued, alleging she had been manic at the time and couldn’t be blamed for the outburst.
The court disagreed, pointing out that violating a rule against threats or violence is inexcusable, whether caused by a disability or not. (Wills v. Superior Court, No. G043054, Court of Appeal of California, 4th Appellate Division, 2011)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Charlotte company learns the hard way: You will pay for bias
- Beware alternative to Title VII: There's another way to file for race discrimination
- In RIFs, Show That Economics (Not Age) Drove Your Decision
- Terminations: 5 Tips for Avoiding Lawsuits