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After surgery, look for ways to accommodate employee

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in Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Make sure your supervisors know they must consider post-surgery ADA accommodations and should forward such requests to HR.

Under no circumstances should an employee be summarily fired just be­­cause she’s used up her FMLA leave and still needs help during recovery.

Recent case: Carolyn worked as a public health nurse and took FMLA leave for foot surgery. When her leave was up, she was still using a motorized ­­scooter to get around and wanted to use it at work. With­­out even con­­sidering the request, Carolyn’s supervisor fired her—after allegedly telling Carolyn that she did “not want me around the patients in the clinic because of my wheelchair.”

Carolyn sued and her former em­­ployer tried to get the case dismissed on a technicality. The court refused and ordered an ADA trial for failure to accommodate. (Sydnor v. Fairfax County, No. 11-1573, 4th Cir., 2012)

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