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Do disabled workers have extra rights during layoff?

by on
in Employment Law

Q. We have several temporary positions we must fill. A disabled applicant is qualified and we want to hire him but are worried we won’t be able to terminate him after the position ends. Are there any rules that require us to retain him? – K.S., Wisconsin

A. Your obligation under the ADA is to treat the disabled employee fairly and to provide any reasonable accommodations that may allow him or her to perform the essential functions of the job. That does not mean that the disabled employee is entitled to more job protection than other employees when it comes time for layoffs.

The bigger problem from a liability perspective would be to refuse to hire the employee because of fears you might have to make accommodations or perceptions about the ability or inability of the applicant to perform the job because of the disability.

So go ahead and hire the disabled and qualified applicant. When the time comes to discharge him and the others in temporary positions, you don’t have to worry that doing so will mean a successful lawsuit against your company.

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