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Use job ratings to counter disability claims

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Here’s another reason why it’s so important to continually document employee performance. If an employee who quits later says she did so because you didn’t accommodate her disability, you may be able to show that she could in fact do her job without accommodations.

If she was able to perform her job, that becomes important evidence in any potential lawsuit. It can show that her condition didn’t substantially impair major life functions.

Recent case:
Terrayle Fender was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis while working for a CVS drug store. She claims she told her managers about her condition—and that they were cooperative at first.

But when Fender transferred to a different store, she said her new managers made it difficult for her to work. She was also demoted and scheduled to work more hours than she had at the other location.

She quit and then sued, alleging that she had not been reasonably accommodated.

CVS argued there was no evidence that Fender met the definition of disabled even though she had a diagnosis. Managers pointed out that she didn’t have any apparent trouble working the many hours she was scheduled each week. They said she didn’t ask for or appear to need any help.

The court dismissed Fender’s case, concluding she hadn’t proven that her condition substantially limited a major life activity. (Fender v. CVS, No. 1:07-CV-362, WD NC, 2008)

Final note:
Also remind managers to report any disability claims to the HR office. When they do, get proper medical documentation from the employee right away. This gives you and your organization’s supervisors a chance to assess how much of an impact the claimed disability has on one major life function—working.

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