I wrote two years ago about the challenges employers face when an employee attributes his or her misconduct to a disability. In the less-than-sympathetically titled post: "To What Extent Are California Employers Required To Accommodate Violent Nutjobs," I pointed out the lack of guidance on this issue. In that case, the employer prevailed because the misconduct included threats of violence against co-workers. But what if the conduct doesn’t rise to that standard?
Our prolific colleague Richard Cohen posted earlier today about an interesting case out of the U.K. There, a court reversed a school’s decision to terminate a teacher for taking a 16-year old former student to a concert, getting her drunk, and bringing her home at 3 a.m. You can read the details here.
This issue — employees attributing their bad behavior to a disability — isn’t going away. And given the range of craziness in the workplace, it may be a long time before employers have clear guidance on where their obligation to accommodate disabilities gives way to their right to enforce basic standards of behavior.