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Tell staff: Accommodations are none of their business

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in HR Management,Human Resources

It’s natural for co-workers to gripe when a disabled employee’s accommodation causes more work. They may complain that the accommodated employee isn’t pulling her weight or that the accommodations are bogus.

Tell them to zip it. Explain that you won’t discuss another employee’s disability and accommodations—and that it’s really not their concern.

Recent case: Julie, a nurse, developed breast cancer and took FMLA leave. When she returned, she had lifting restrictions. Her co-workers complained that Julie wasn’t pulling her weight and didn’t think her accommodations were necessary.

Later, Julie was fired for irregularities when dispensing medicine. She sued, alleging that the hospital should have disciplined the co-workers for their comments.

The hospital showed it had told them any accommodations were be­­tween Julie and the hospital. Julie’s case was dismissed. (Lichty v. Allina Health, No. 12-437, DC MN, 2013)

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