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Offer accommodation, but don’t mandate extra leave

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in Employment Law,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Q. We're afraid that a previously injured worker returned from medical leave too early. Can we require him to take additional leave if it's obvious that the injury is still hurting his job performance? —M.D., Wyoming

A. It's typically a bad idea to “require” that an employee take medical leave. Remember: Under the ADA, you should offer reasonable accommodations, not force them upon employees. If the worker's condition is obvious, offer an appropriate reasonable accommodation, such as additional time off or light-duty work.

But if the employee turns it down, or if no reasonable accommodation exists, you can follow through with progressive discipline, which may include termination. Plus, if the employee's condition risks substantial harm to himself or others that you can't address with reasonable accommodation, you're on safe legal ground to terminate him.

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