Accommodate disabled workers, but don’t accept mediocre job performance

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Performance Reviews

Yes, employers must reasonably accom­modate employees with disabilities. But that doesn’t mean they have to provide a perfect workplace—or tolerate subpar performance.

Instead, make the accommodations that are reasonable. If the employee still can’t perform her job’s essential functions, you can terminate her. That’s true even if a failed accommodation contributed to her poor performance—as long as you would have terminated a nondisabled employee who made the same mistakes.

Recent case: Jessica Whitfield is blind in one eye and has cerebral palsy. She successfully worked for a state agency, and then transferred to another agency. That’s where she ran into problems.

Whitfield’s new job required a six-month probationary period. Her work involved answering phones, filing forms, preparing mailings and entering information on a computer. Before she took the job, she explained that she was a slow typist. Her new supervisor—who als...(register to read more)

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