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Focus on ability to perform duties if you worry worker may have mental or emotional problems

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

What should you do if one of your employees seems to be having difficulty coping well at work? Start by not jumping to conclusions about his mental health. Instead, focus on behavior and document any apparent problems.

Then, based on that observation, consider asking for a fitness-for-duty examination. That way, you aren’t treating him as if he were disabled—which could set up the organization for a disability discrimination lawsuit.

Recent case: Jerome had worked for the city of San Francisco for about 20 years when he was terminated after using up all his available leave. His job had been a high-stress one, working with disadvantaged youth and others dealing with severe mental problems.

Jerome’s job description required him to communicate effectively, maintain effective and cooperative working relationships with clients and others and handle complex situations with tact and diplomacy.

Jerome performed well until he began e...(register to read more)

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