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Can employees with a disability be fired?

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2023 | Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employee rights |

Terminating an employee due to a disability is unlawful on both the federal and state levels. But what if they pose a danger to others in the workplace or fall short of expectations? Disability discrimination rules and regulations might be difficult to navigate, but that shouldn’t prevent businesses from terminating poor performers.

Employers may fire an employee with a disability under three conditions:

  • Termination is unrelated to the disability
  • The employee is not able to meet the standard requirements of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation
  • The employee poses a direct threat to health or safety in the workplace

What steps can employers take to fire a person with a disability legally?

For one, following the same rules and processes they do for all other workers could help make the termination lawful and ethical. Examples of these processes can include conducting multiple assessments or issuing warnings to the employee before termination.

Having documentation of the employee’s performance evaluation may help show that the employer has taken the appropriate steps to help or guide the employee before terminating them. One of the key steps employers must take is to provide employees with disabilities reasonable accommodations as long as it does not cause the business undue hardship.

Some examples of reasonable accommodations include enabling an employee to work from home occasionally or providing them with specialized equipment. Some workers, however, remain unable to perform even after the company has granted them reasonable accommodations.

A company might be able to free itself from legal liabilities if it can show that an employee did not live up to or is no longer capable of performing the basic functions of their position.

It is crucial to follow proper procedures when terminating an employee, regardless of whether or not they have a disability. Employment law can be tricky, but working with an attorney could provide guidance on what the best practices are to avoid violating employees’ rights.