It’s natural for co-workers to gripe when a disabled employee’s accommodation causes more work. They may complain that the accommodated employee isn’t pulling her weight or that the accommodations are bogus.
Tell them to zip it. Explain that you won’t discuss another employee’s disability and accommodations—and that it’s really not their concern.
Recent case: Julie, a nurse, developed breast cancer and took. When she returned, she had lifting restrictions. Her co-workers complained that Julie wasn’t pulling her weight and didn’t think her accommodations were necessary.
Later, Julie was fired for irregularities when dispensing medicine. She sued, alleging that the hospital should have disciplined the co-workers for their comments.
The hospital showed it had told them any accommodations were between Julie and the hospital. Julie’s case was dismissed. (Lichty v. Allina Health, No. 12-437, DC MN, 2013)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Remind bosses: Don't discuss reason for firing with others
- At hiring meetings, think like a consultant
- When employee complains of bias or harassment, beware acting in ways that look like retaliation
- Offer alternatives to reporting discrimination straight up the 'chain of command'