Here’s a cautionary tale for supervisors who have a learning-disabled subordinate. Do all you can to accommodate the employee and don’t let co-workers—or anyone in the workplace—make fun of disability traits.
Recent case: Kenneth, who characterizes himself as borderline mentally retarded, worked as a school district grounds and utility employee for a decade before being terminated after an on-the-job accident he had while driving a truck.
Kenneth sued under the ADA, alleging that he had been fired because he was disabled, had been denied reasonable accommodations and had been forced to endure harassment at work because of his disability.
The school district first argued that Kenneth wasn’t disabled at all. The court disagreed, based on his mother’s testimony that she had to help him with just about everything from getting groceries to handling money. She also explained that he had an IQ of 72. The court refused to conclude Kenneth was not disabled and said the question should go to a jury.
Next, the school district argued it actually had accommodated Kenneth. Again, the court disagreed. It noted testimony that Kenneth’s job description didn’t include driving at all—he could have been easily accommodated by simply excusing him from driving.
Finally, the school district argued that just because Kenneth was commonly referred to at work as “Forrest Gump” did not mean he was being harassed on account of his intellect. According to the district, the references were to the fictional Gump’s ping-pong prowess and cross-country running ability, not his learning disability.
The court didn’t buy it, and ruled in Kenneth’s favor. (Horne v. Dickinson Independent School District, No. G-11-63, SD TX, 2012)
Note: The school district—0 for 3 in this case—might recall what Forrest Gump’s mamma told him: Stupid is as stupid does.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/32480/how-not-to-treat-a-learning-disabled-employee "
- Texas High Court rules arbitration agreements valid despite changing employment conditions
- Mandating New-Age spirituality at work can trigger an Old-School lawsuit
- Employee can sue for legal fees after winning EEOC claim
- Exhibit A: What not to ask applicants for HR jobs
- Good news: Bullying and verbal abuse probably are not emotional distress