Employees with disabilities have a right to an accommodation. And they have a right to demonstrate their ability to do the job after an accommodation has been put into place
4. Once a manager suspects that a disability impacts an employee’s job performance, the manager should, during a private conversation, openly discuss with the employee the possibility that a disability impacts their performance.
Instead of openly confronting employees with suspicions about a disability or medical condition, begin by asking two powerful questions you would ask any employee in this situation: 1. Is there anything you can tell me that would help me understand this situation; and 2. What can I do to help you improve your performance?
5. During a performance discussion, focus on concrete examples that illustrate a performance issue.
Stay away from vague statements and your own suspicions about the cause of the performance issue. Focus on concrete events or actions that illustrate the performance issue and on the consequences of these events/actions.
6. Employees with disabilities who have performance issues should be given honest and concrete feedback, just like any other employee.
Like anyone else, some workers with disabilities will be excellent performers; others not so much. A key job of a manager is to coach each employee (including those who have disabilities) so they can contribute 100% of their talents to your department or unit goals.
7. Once a manager finds out that an employee has a disability, all prior disciplinary actions or negative performance appraisals must be withdrawn and taken off the record.
Employees with disabilities can be held accountable for their performance and conduct. Actions taken regarding an employee's job performance do not have to be withdrawn when the employee discloses a disability. But the employee does have a right to have their performance re-evaluated when they are using an accommodation.
8. A termination action must be rescinded if an employee tells their manager that a disability was the cause of the performance that led to the termination action.
If the employee first discloses an accommodation need after a termination action has begun, the employee can still be held accountable for their performance prior to disclosing the disability. If the employee’s performance prior to the disability disclosure warrants termination under a uniformly and fairly applied policy, the termination action may proceed.
9. The best way to prevent situations where a disability impacts performance is to ensure that all employees are informed about accommodation processes and options.
If all employees are informed of accommodation options (such as Employee Assistance Programs or other accommodation possibilities), they are more likely to come forward when they need an accommodation. This can prevent many performance issues from arising.
10. Research tells us that employees with disabilities, on average, perform nearly as well as those without disabilities.
Research from DePaul University tells us that employees with disabilities perform as well as any other employee. Most performance issues have nothing to do with disability. Don't assume that a disability always means performance deficits.