Q. One of our employees has intellectual delays and is in a motorized wheelchair. In the past year, he ran over a client’s foot and damaged the office walls numerous times, including punching through the drywall. We are at our wit’s end. Can we terminate him if he continues to cause damage or at least make him pay for wall repairs out of his paycheck? — J.D., Missouri
A. The first step is to talk to the employee about how to improve the operation of the wheelchair. Talk to his spouse or family members if you think the employee may have difficulty understanding the conversation. Perhaps some organization can provide training.
In terms of whether you can make him pay for property damage, you want to be careful that you treat him the same way you would treat any other employee who causes property damage. Do you typically require employees to cover the damage? Check your state’s wage payment law before deducting any money from the employee’s paycheck.