An employee who is struggling
- Keep an open mind; the performance issue may or may not be related to a disability.
- Performance issues should always be addressed, whether or not the manager suspects the issue is related to a disability.
Prevent performance problems
- When all employees know that they have a right to a reasonable accommodation, they are more likely to come forward before a performance problem arises.
Performance coaching is needed here, just like in any other situation
- During a private conversation, discuss the concrete events that illustrate the performance issue.
- Do not discuss or document your own beliefs about a possible disability.
- Be clear about performance expectations.
- Discuss the impact of the performance problem on team or business goals.
Let the employee tell you about the cause of the performance problem
- Ask the employee about anything they can tell you to help you understand the issue and provide support.
- Then sit back and listen!
If the employee now tells you about a disability, enter into a different conversation
- The employee can use plain English to tell you about a disability and accommodation need.
- When the employee informs you of a disability, treat this as an accommodation request. Start the accommodation process by calling your local HR Manager or Medical Leaves Administration at 607.255.1177.
Put the performance review on hold for now
- Plan to re-evaluate the employee’s performance after an accommodation has been put into place.
If the employee does not tell you about a disability, continue with performance coaching
- Continue to coach the employee and provide feedback as you would with any other employee with a performance issue.
If the employee first discloses a disability when a termination action has begun
- If the employee’s performance prior to his disclosure of a disability warrants termination under a uniformly and fairly applied policy, the termination can proceed.
Employees with disabilities perform as well as any other employee
- Don’t automatically assume that disability is a performance problem.
- Research shows that employees with disabilities perform as well as any other employee.