No matter how odd or even inappropriate an employee’s suggested disability accommodation might seem to you or your line managers, the solution isn’t to discipline the person.
That point was brought home by an EEOC lawsuit against a hotel operator in Raleigh, NC.
An animal at the desk
According to the EEOC, a hotel desk clerk used a service animal to calm his panic attacks. When he started bringing the animal to work (the EEOC didn’t say what animal it was, but most service animals are dogs), his manager objected.
After the two discussed the situation, the manager cut the clerk’s hours, and when he said he would file a discrimination complaint, the manager fired him.
The EEOC sued for retaliation.
What can we learn from this case?
It’s true that in some situations, it may pose an undue hardship if an employee with a disability wants an unusual accommodation. Employers don’t have to accept every accommodation that employees suggest.
But what you can’t do is refuse to discuss an accommodation or, worse, fire the person for complaining.
Cite: EEOC v. Tridev Hospitality.
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