Guess which of your employees are among the most likely to file a discrimination complaint, request ADA accommodations or ask for FMLA leave. Those who know they’re in trouble at work. They think that by doing so, they’ll make you think twice before discharging them. If that doesn’t keep you from firing them, guess what happens next.
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It can be devastating when an employee becomes severely disabled in the prime of life, especially if it’s clear the disability means she will never be able to perform her old job without substantial assistance. Well-intentioned, compassionate employers try their best to help. But the tough question is how far they should go to accommodate the disabled employee’s restrictions.
Employees tend to get angry if management dismisses or turns a blind eye to some perceived injustice. That anger may manifest itself in many ways, including refusing to cooperate with reasonable requests. You don’t have to put up with that passive-aggressive behavior.
If you don’t have a chance to personally observe an employee’s behavior, don’t rely solely on a supervisor’s termination recommendation. Instead, conduct an independent investigation to verify the supervisor’s claim. Otherwise, any employment decision based on that recommendation can be tainted by the supervisor’s hidden bias.
Employees who claim some form of discrimination are protected from retaliation. But that doesn’t mean employers can’t discipline employees who have complained. The key is to make sure any discipline is based on legitimate concerns and doesn’t go beyond that which other employees who didn’t complain would receive.
With the most recent U.S. Supreme Court pronouncement on retaliation, it’s now clearly impermissible to punish someone who is closely related to an employee who has filed an EEOC complaint or lawsuit. But you can protect yourself by limiting who within the company knows about litigation.