Employers don’t have to put up with angry and abusive employees who try to make life miserable for others. That’s true even if the employee is disabled and has takenand other leave to deal with mental problems or medical conditions that may be contributing to poor behavior.
Recent case: Marie was a police officer with the Blaine Police Department. She resigned from her long-term job after she was refused extended, paid administrative leave.
Over the years, she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other psychological ills. Some were rooted in workplace incidents and others stemmed from personal problems such as deaths in the family and a broken marriage.
Things came to a head after numerous leaves, hospitalizations and expressions of suicidal thoughts. Marie badgered a male co-worker, calling into question his manhood, suggesting he had no spine and essentially berating him to his face. She was also accused of threatening to harm a co-worker’s dog.
After exhausting other leave, the police department refused to grant her paid administrative leave to deal with her problems.
She quit and sued, alleging a long list of disability- and leave-related claims.
But the court tossed out all of Marie’s claims, reasoning that she had already received all leave she was entitled to and wasn’t eligible for additional time off. (Johnson v. City of Blaine, No. 12-443, DC MN, 2013)
Final note: At some point, you must rein in abusive employees. If that means a lawsuit, so be it.
- Apply zero-tolerance policy on workplace violence across the board
- Balance Staffing blindsided by recruiter's ADA lawsuit
- You can require tests to set disability accommodations
- Another reason to track everything: Passage of time makes it harder for worker to successfully sue
- Trying to avoid romantic trouble? Make sure transfer doesn't look like punishment