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How can we terminate a morale buster who is in ill health?

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Q. We have an employee who was out six months with a heart condition. He has had performance problems on and off since then. He was hospitalized again with pneumonia and returned looking very bad. However, his doctor says he’s fine to return to work. We approached him about taking disability and SSI benefits, but he refuses. Now we face a morale issue because he constantly talks about his illness, and his co-workers feel he isn’t performing. If we terminate him, what is the best approach?

A.
Before you consider termination, you should counsel the employee about his performance problems and follow your usual practice with respect to progressive discipline.

In that context, ask the employee whether he needs assistance in meeting your performance expectations. 

If he declines (and because his doctor says he is able to work), you should treat him as you would any other employee with performance problems. If he indicates that he does need an accommodation, discuss with him his needs.

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