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When Can You Discipline, Fire Disabled Workers? New EEOC Guidance Explains

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

The ADA does not affect an employer’s right to hold all employees to basic conduct standards, and employers can apply the same performance standards to all employees, including those with disabilities. That’s the clear conclusion of a new ADA guidance document just issued by the EEOC.

The Americans with Disabilities Act: Applying Performance and Conduct Standards to Employees with Disabilities is a question-and-answer guide addressing how the ADA applies to a wide variety of performance and conduct issues. 

Download it for free here.

“The EEOC continues to receive numerous questions on these topics from employers and from individuals with disabilities,” said Commission Chair Naomi C. Earp, “indicating that there is still a high level of uncertainty about how the ADA affects these fundamental personnel issues. This document will serve a critical need and enhance compliance with the ADA.”

While affirming employers’ rights to discipline and fire disabled workers, it also makes clear that they must make reasonable accommodations so employees can meet performance and conduct standards.

The guide reviews relevant ADA requirements and explains how they govern performance and conduct standards. Through examples based on actual cases and specific scenarios that the EEOC has learned about from employers and individuals with disabilities, this guide explains when and how performance and conduct standards should be applied and the appropriate role of reasonable accommodation.

The guide explains how and when employees should request accommodations to help them meet performance requirements and comply with conduct rules, and how an employer should handle such requests.

Other topics addressed include issues related to attendance, dress codes and drug and alcohol use.

Also covered are the circumstances in which employers can ask questions about an employee’s disability when performance or conduct problems occur.

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