Question: Before firing or disciplining an employee for tardiness, ask yourself these two questions: Could he be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? And, if so, how essential is his punctuality to the job?
While the ADA requires companies to make job accommodations for disabled workers, you don’t have to employ anyone who can’t perform the “essential functions” of the job. And on-time attendance is an “essential function,” right? Not necessarily, as the following case shows.
Case in Point: Tommy Holly, a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair, was an excellent employee at a Florida plastics manufacturing company for 17 years. He was sometimes late to clock in by a few seconds or minutes, typically because tables blocked his path to the time clock or he’d wait out rainstorms in the parking lot to prevent getting drenched.
The company informally accommodated his disability-related t...(register to read more)