Yes, employers must reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities. But that doesn’t mean they have to provide a perfect workplace—or tolerate subpar performance. Instead, make the accommodations that are reasonable. If the employee still can’t perform her job’s essential functions, you can terminate her.
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Employees who file EEOC or other complaints about discrimination are protected from retaliation for doing so. But that doesn’t mean employers aren’t allowed to discipline employees who have complained—if the situation legitimately calls for discipline. You must, however, be very careful to document the underlying reasons.
Managers should make documentation of employee performance, behavior and discipline a regular habit. Strong documentation is especially important if an employee or ex-employee ever files a legal complaint saying his or her termination or discipline was based on illegal discrimination.
Even legitimate discipline against a lousy employee can spell FMLA trouble if somehow that discipline happens more quickly than it did for other employees with similar disciplinary problems. Advice: Take your time when disciplining workers who have taken FMLA leave. It’s better to be right than fast.