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Is employee really disabled? Use common sense

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Performance Reviews

When it comes to deciding whether to grant reasonable accommodations, the first step is to determine whether the employee is really disabled. A diagnosis isn’t the last word.

Does the condition actually limit the employee in some substantial way?

Recent case: Kathleen Franceschelli took FMLA leave after being diagnosed with lupus and fibromyalgia. When Verizon fired her for poor performance after she returned to work, she sued for disability discrimination.

But Verizon pointed out that Fran­ceschelli’s medical condition hadn’t affected her very much. She still drove a car, walked her dogs, attended Penn State football games and generally continued to do everything she had done before diagnosis.

The court said she wasn’t disabled and dismissed her lawsuit. (Fran­ceschelli v. Verizon, No. 3:09-1553, MD PA, 2011)

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