Don't let disability stop legitimate discipline.


It's reasonable to worry that disciplining an employee who is disabled might trigger a lawsuit. Don't let those kinds of concerns dissuade you from otherwise legitimate discipline. Courts general allow employers great leeway to punish employees who seem to genuinely deserve it.

Recent case: Peter, who is older than 65, began working in 1977 for the Scranton Counseling Center, a behavioral health facility. He eventually became director of intellectual disability and early intervention services, supervising staff and overseeing compliance with state requirements. He earned about $70,000 per year.

As he aged, Peter developed hip problems and walked with a limp. He eventually took leave to undergo hip surgery.

Sometime before having surgery, Peter was suspended for three days and demoted. He received a memo detailing performance problems, with 10 dated entries outlining specific errors and omissions. After the demotion, he dropped down two supervisory levels and took a 10% pay cut.

Peter, who still works for the center, sued...

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