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Want to determine if poor performance is a result of the disability? Ask these four questions

by , 10 December 2013
If you want to dismiss a disabled employee because you believe he's not performing, be careful! You need to ask yourself the following four questions to avoid labour disputes.

When it comes to dismissing disabled employees for poor performance, you have to make sure the poor work performance is due to ill-health or injury. And not because of other causes such as lack of experience, limited skills or lack of intelligence.

There's no easy checklist that you can use to solve this problem.

But, the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service recommends you use the following questions to assess if the poor performance is because of disability, ill-health or injury…

Four questions to see if poor performance is because of the disability

  1. Does my employee have a health condition or disability?
  2. If so, what are the symptoms associated with this?
  3. In what way(s) is my employee performing poorly?
  4. Is there a logical relationship between the symptoms and the poor performance?

Once you've answered these questions, you need to ask yourself if your company has done everything it could to reasonably accommodate him.

Here's an example of how you would find out if poor performance is because of the disability:

Let's say, Joseph, a worker in your restaurant kitchen, has a recognised learning disability. He copes well in his job.

But when you promote him to a waiter, he performs very poorly. His poor performance could be because of his learning disability.

On the other hand, Jane has bipolar affective disorder. She fails to meet her sales targets as an insurance broker. Her poor performance could be because of her psychiatric condition. It could also relate to a combination of her disability and other factors.

The point here is that you must be extra cautious when taking disciplinary action against an employee with a disability.

Ask yourself these questions if you want to dismiss a disabled employee due to poor performance. If you fail to do so, you could be guilty of discrimination because you didn't reasonably accommodate him.

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