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  • ADA Question Illinois

    We hired a Supervisor to work in our steel processing plant. We noticed throughout the interviews that he had a little bit of a limp, but all employees go through a post offer physical to determine if they are fit for duty, so I was not concerned. Employee passed physical, and upon later examination of the report, there was absolutely no mention of hip or leg problems. Now employee has been here for three weeks and has literally fallen down on the job four times, and can't get himself up when he falls. This is a highly dangerous work environment with lots of sharp edges, and heavy weight. I'm concerned he's going to seriously injure himself, and I cannot think of a reasonable accommodation that would work in this enviornment.

    1. Can I send him back for another fit for duty exam and specifically ask the doctor to address these problems?
    2. He's probationary right now, but there are not many other signs that he's not able to handle the job, so termination would certainly seem based solely on his physical inability to remain safe in this environment.

    How would you handle this?

  • #2
    1. Yes. Definitely send him back to a physician of your choosing, specifically to find out what's going on with his falling down. Be sure to provide the physician in advance with a specific description of the work environment and the physical demands of the job and the falling/limping problems the employee is having.

    2. The issue is (a) whether he has a disability as defined under the ADA and if so (b) whether there is a reasonable accommodation that can be made. If he has any physical impairment (perhaps he has a vertigo problem?) that make him unable to perform the job safely and adequately, whether with or without any accommodation, then you should terminate his employment.

    Before you proceed, by all means ask the employee what is going on and why he keeps falling down - and then share that information with the doctor before he goes for another fitness for duty eval.

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    • #3
      Agree, definitely have him re-examined by a physician you choose paying
      special attention to the problems he has been having.

      As stated; even if the employee does have a disability "covered by" the ADA, you
      can terminate if he can't perform his job safely & satisfactorily with or without a reasonable accommodation.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        Get him a Segway.
        Bob Bollinger, Attorney
        Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law
        Charlotte, NC

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        • #5
          You obviously have a perception of him having a disability. The ADA used to define "disability" as including a perception of having a disability. Did they take that out of the ADA when they cleaned it up a couple years ago? If not, he probably still qualifies for ADA protections. So before you fire him, you better get some legal advice from an employment law specialist.
          Bob Bollinger, Attorney
          Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law
          Charlotte, NC

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          • #6
            Originally posted by complwyr View Post
            Get him a Segway.
            Bob, no advertising on this forum. (I'm just kidding with you - wish I would have thought to say that.)
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

            Comment

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