ADA Performance Management Best Practices for HR Management

According to the EEOC publication on performance standards, “An employee with a disability must meet the same production standards, whether quantitative or qualitative, as another employee in the same job. Lowering or changing a production standard because an employee cannot meet it due to a disability is not considered a reasonable accommodation. However, a reasonable accommodation may be required to assist an employee in meeting a specific production standard.”

Create Clear Job Tasks & Expectations

  • Effective performance management starts with a clear description of the job role, duties, qualifications, and experience.
  • It is okay to hold an employee with a disability to the same performance standards as other employees; however, be sure to adhere to reasonable accommodations.
  • Remember that employees with disabilities often have the same skills and abilities as others doing the same job. The difference often is in the manner in which tasks are completed.

Ongoing Performance Reviews, Training, & Goal Setting

  • Just as with all employees, individuals with disabilities should be given regular periodic performance reviews identifying areas of improvement as well as positive reinforcement.
  • Set goals to be reached and assign additional tasks and cross training opportunities when appropriate.
  • Use the periodic performance reviews as an opportunity to identify areas where additional accommodation may be needed.
  • Identify any issues that may arise with employee relations and their working relationship with supervisors.
  • Ensure that compensation and merit increases occur in the same manner as other employees.

Promotional Opportunities

  • Ensure that promotional opportunities are posted so that those with disabilities are aware of them and can access the information.
  • Employees with disabilities should be given the same opportunity as others for promotions based on their job performance, skills, and improvement.

Corrective Action & Termination

  • Terminating employees with disabilities is allowed as long as reasonable accommodations have been provided, and the employee can not meet performance standards.  Using JAN (Job Accommodation Network) for guidance is recommended when determining disciplinary actions.
  • It is okay to hold employees with disabilities to the same performance standards as regular employees; however, be sure to adhere to reasonable accommodations.
  • In situations where rules of ethics or conduct have been broken, individuals with disabilities should be held responsible and corrective action may be taken.  The EEOC publication states, “if an employee’s disability does not cause the misconduct, an employer may hold the individual to the same conduct standards that it applies to all other employees. In most instances, an employee’s disability will not be relevant to any conduct violations.”
  • *source www.ilr.cornell.edu, author: Lee, Barbara, 5/2000 and www.eeoc.gov/facts/performance-conduct.html

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