View Full Version : Donít let disability excuse worker misconduct( Article)


jace49
05-20-12, 09:34 AM
by THE HR SPECIALIST: NORTH CAROLINA EMPLOYMENT LAW on MAY 20, 2012 1:00AM
in DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT,HUMAN RESOURCES


Disabled employees sometimes try to use their medical conditions as an excuse for poor behavior. Donít fall for it.

Disability canít be used to avoid discipline for misconduct.

Recent case: Yvett Rudolph had experience working for the state of Louisiana, where she assessed eligibility for food stamps and other social welfare programs. She moved to North Carolina and took a similar job with the Buncombe County *government.

Rudolph had been diagnosed with adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and took Adderall, a prescription drug, for the condition. She told her new employer about her condition up front, before she was hired.

Rudolph had problems almost immediately because she used procedures from her old job in Louisiana, instead of the usual North Carolina processes.

Then she was caught violating a confidentiality rule while trying to determine if a man was eligible for welfare benefits. She had to figure out whether he was receiving money from his wife and if she was part of his household, or whether they were separated, as he claimed.

Instead of following North Carolina rules that required her to send a form for the client to fill out, she took it upon herself to call his wife directly. In doing so, she revealed that the man had applied for welfare benefits, violating state confidentiality rules. Rudolph was terminated for misconduct.

She sued, alleging that her disability made it hard for her to learn new processes and instead had to rely on old habits.

The court said that excuse didnít cut it. She knew the rules were different in North Carolina and therefore committed misconduct when she ignored them. Her disability was irrelevant. The case was dismissed. (Rudolph v. Buncombe County Government, et al., No. 1-10-CV-203, WD NC, 2012)

http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/30760/dont-let-disability-excuse-worker-misconduct

ginniebean
05-20-12, 09:44 AM
Foip is a big rule. Nowhere can foip be violated and they totally have a point.

kilted_scotsman
05-20-12, 11:45 AM
Court got that one right....

Kinda thing that gets ADDers a bad name.

kilted

salleh
05-20-12, 01:20 PM
umh ....what it foip ? ....and yah ....I don't see her mistake as being related to ADHD anyway .....it's not all that hard to figure out that different states would have different laws and violating confidentiality of a client is a giant no-no at any time.....


ADHD doesn't mean you get to go through life ignoring the rules when it suits you ....and that's what it sounds like to me ....


not an ADD type of goof up.....

Retromancer
05-20-12, 02:25 PM
I concur with what has been said -- but I still hope the state doesn't fight her unemployment. I do know what it's like to have a shredded resume and no unemployment benefits. She is going to have trouble working anywhere in the social service field again.

trishcan
05-20-12, 02:31 PM
Although I agree that there's not much one can say that would excuse violating anyone's right to confidentiality, I guess I'm wondering... is she saying that Louisiana doesn't have the same confidentiality provisions? That a phone call to a spouse would be acceptable? If so, then I do have trouble seeing why she's being vilified for her actions.

Has no one else ever faced a new situation and defaulted to doing what you're accustomed to doing?

I'm sure she was trained on their confidentiality provisions, but I'm also sure she was trained on quite literally thousands of other differences in the way eligibility is determined and applications are processed in a different state. Should she really have been expected to remember each and every one of those things 100% of the time?

Retromancer
05-20-12, 03:32 PM
Why do I have the suspicion that the management were waiting for her to screw up?

Rudolph had problems almost immediately because she used procedures from her old job in Louisiana, instead of the usual North Carolina processes.

Then she was caught violating a confidentiality rule while trying to determine if a man was eligible for welfare benefits. She had to figure out whether he was receiving money from his wife and if she was part of his household, or whether they were separated, as he claimed.

Oh yeah because something similar happened to me. That's why.

ginniebean
05-20-12, 05:36 PM
Oh it does sound like they were looking for a way to get her, for sure. What I don't get is why people would mention their diagnosis, that does not need to be disclosed, just that you have a disability and here are the accommodations that would help me do my job. When co-workers and management know the disability they have a lot they can target/exploit.

sarahsweets
05-20-12, 05:37 PM
I wonder if they went for her in the dark of night with torches?

trishcan
05-20-12, 06:23 PM
What I don't get is why people would mention their diagnosis, that does not need to be disclosed, just that you have a disability and here are the accommodations that would help me do my job. When co-workers and management know the disability they have a lot they can target/exploit.
Because no one tells adults how they're expected to go about the process, other than "do it" or "don't do it." How many of us actually know our rights under the ADA?

ginniebean
05-20-12, 07:15 PM
http://nc.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20120301_0000589.WNC.htm/qx

The actual case, a bit different than how it was reported.

Retromancer
05-20-12, 07:59 PM
Reading through it at the moment. Four insights come to mind reading it:

1) The plaintiff really, really needed legal advice.

2) The management were looking for a pretext to fire her -- and she duly gave it to them.

3) I need to be tested for audio processing disorder.

4) Forget about asking for an accommodation for AD(H)D.

http://nc.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20120301_0000589.WNC.htm/qx

The actual case, a bit different than how it was reported.

silivrentoliel
05-20-12, 08:09 PM
I couldn't read all of it... but I did notice that she had issues submitting some kind of paperwork... first it was late, then too long, then late, then just barely accepted. I don't know if she had help or not, but if she did, they needed to be fired.

Retromancer
05-20-12, 08:17 PM
'Pro se' means advocating for oneself in court, as versus being represented by a lawyer. At the least she needed legal advice for her initial complaint.

I couldn't read all of it... but I did notice that she had issues submitting some kind of paperwork... first it was late, then too long, then late, then just barely accepted. I don't know if she had help or not, but if she did, they needed to be fired.

silivrentoliel
05-20-12, 08:18 PM
'Pro se' means advocating for oneself in court, as versus being represented by a lawyer. At the least she needed legal advice for her initial complaint.


Ah. Don't even remember reading that part. Makes more sense. Not real smart on her part :rolleyes:

trishcan
05-20-12, 10:06 PM
Well, she clearly screwed herself by telling them from the outset that her disability wasn't a disability at all, as it didn't impair her in any way. In that case, forget my earlier comments.

trishcan
05-20-12, 11:00 PM
I guess that's the problem. People with impairments are afraid to disclose because they don't want to be viewed as weak or incapable or demanding special treatment. Those without impairments are happy to disclose because then they're a token disability hire to whom the employer has to provide nothing.

It seems that people with diagnoses/disabilities are really not well educated on their rights and responsibilities. Up to and including that when you're at at-will employee, you can be fired for any reason--and there are plenty of reasons an employer can find outside your disability, if it comes down to it. She seemed to think she was somehow "unfireable" just because she had ADHD. And thankfully, that's not how this **** works.

sarahsweets
05-21-12, 05:02 AM
I guess that's the problem. People with impairments are afraid to disclose because they don't want to be viewed as weak or incapable or demanding special treatment. Those without impairments are happy to disclose because then they're a token disability hire to whom the employer has to provide nothing.

It seems that people with diagnoses/disabilities are really not well educated on their rights and responsibilities. Up to and including that when you're at at-will employee, you can be fired for any reason--and there are plenty of reasons an employer can find outside your disability, if it comes down to it. She seemed to think she was somehow "unfireable" just because she had ADHD. And thankfully, that's not how this **** works.

really good point trish.:thankyou::goodpost:

4rch0n4n6313
07-29-15, 01:04 AM
:(I have my two cents to add to this (no pun intended). Im not sure how many of you who spoke so negatively of this woman, know what it is like to find whatever job you can get. Also to assume that she has the financial resources to find legal advice seems inappropriate as well. Allot of these comments were downright mean and make me wonder if the respondents actually have ADD or are one of those who were given a diagnosis because they wanted one.

When I was diagnosed at 31 with ADD, I tell my prospective employers, because . 1) They will know before they hire me, what kind of challenges they will have to deal with, and weather or not it is something they are wiling to compromise on 2) It helps me to not set myself up for failure. Having a disability isnt a "try harder" kind of thing, and when you are doing your best and it still doesnt cut it...it really makes wanting to live life difficult.

I feel they should have given her a probationary period. If it worked it worked, if not, then that is that. At least she wouldnt be under the assumption that the employer would be wililng to work with her.

Also, I dont know how many of you have had perfect workplace social interactions, but i have often heard many different things from different co-workers regarding how things should be done. If you bring it up to your supervisor your seen as belligerent....this was before I even knew I had ADD.

So to all of you who are so critical of this woman and you dont even know her, I insist that you stop being so mean. This place is supposed to be supportive, and being made to feel like an idiot if you happen to relate to this woman, in a place that is supposed to be emotionally safe, is not appropriate conduct.:(

sarahsweets
07-29-15, 04:22 AM
:(I have my two cents to add to this (no pun intended). Im not sure how many of you who spoke so negatively of this woman, know what it is like to find whatever job you can get. Also to assume that she has the financial resources to find legal advice seems inappropriate as well. Allot of these comments were downright mean and make me wonder if the respondents actually have ADD or are one of those who were given a diagnosis because they wanted one.
FYI this thread is like 3 years old.

When I was diagnosed at 31 with ADD, I tell my prospective employers, because . 1) They will know before they hire me, what kind of challenges they will have to deal with, and weather or not it is something they are wiling to compromise on 2) It helps me to not set myself up for failure. Having a disability isnt a "try harder" kind of thing, and when you are doing your best and it still doesnt cut it...it really makes wanting to live life difficult.
That might work out for you but the sad reality is, sharing your dx with an employer backfires more often than it helps. It gives them fuel to to not hire you or fire you and they can easily come up with an excuse to do it that doesnt seem like its because of your disability.

I feel they should have given her a probationary period. If it worked it worked, if not, then that is that. At least she wouldnt be under the assumption that the employer would be wililng to work with her.
I agree with you but the reality is, many employers can say they would be willing to work with someone and decide after the fact that its too much of a risk.

.

So to all of you who are so critical of this woman and you dont even know her, I insist that you stop being so mean. This place is supposed to be supportive, and being made to feel like an idiot if you happen to relate to this woman, in a place that is supposed to be emotionally safe, is not appropriate conduct.:(
I can see how it could seem like mean, but to others it can seem like being realistic.

Pilgrim
07-29-15, 06:19 AM
I could say a few things here. I'll say one thing cause I've learnt it the hard way.

Never tell unless you absolutely have to a perspective employer of your condition. Also in relation to work, don't give them a reason to sack you for what this woman did. ADD just can't be an excuse.

4rch0n4n6313
07-29-15, 01:57 PM
I know the thread is 3 years old...but...the topic is timeless ;) . I have held jobs longer now that I admit I have ADD, and let my employer know that my symptoms are acting up...then before I was diagnosed and everyone just wondered what the (*&^ was wrong with me. Before I was diagnosed I would end up this huge disappointment because "they had such big plans for me". I think because my mistakes and inconsistencies are no longer viewed as careless. I dont have my looks or being "one of the guys" to fall back on, so really honesty is all I have to get me through.

Bouncingoffwall
04-11-16, 07:23 PM
I could say a few things here. I'll say one thing cause I've learnt it the hard way.

Never tell unless you absolutely have to a perspective employer of your condition. Also in relation to work, don't give them a reason to sack you for what this woman did. ADD just can't be an excuse.

I had an employer mock me after I disclosed my ADHD!!! I screwed something up due to inattentiveness (it was a missed detail in an invoice) and he said (mockingly), "I couldn't help it, it was my ADHD!" I wasn't on medication at the time. I ended up leaving the job, because the employer was encouraging me to flake on school in order to put in more hours at my job. In my classic style (at the time), I left a letter of resignation on the front customer counter and never returned!!!

Oh GAWD, I've come a long way since then!! Therapy, self-help, recovery, you name it!!

Back then, I couldn't stand most jobs. It was a combination of bad attitude and ADHD-symptoms. Curiously, the jobs I did succeed at were the ones where my bosses had a bit of a "disorganized" streak as well :) I got along very well with these types of "energetic" people; as you may know, "politics" goes a long way in keeping your job!!

ItsaRose
05-27-17, 06:24 PM
I wrote a post response, but think it was inadvertently lost before I could submit it for review and posting. If it did go through and I am unable to tell, due to the requirements of moderation, please feel free to delete this post.

I realize this is a very old thread, but I wanted to add to what I consider an important (and 'timeless' as one poster described) topic/issue. In the last several years I have noticed employment applications have a question on whether the applicant has a disability, and if accommodations are required for claimed disability. There is an accompanying list of medical and psychiatric conditions to choose from and a field to enter a condition not on the list. I am uncertain if applicants are required to answer the question, yet whether answered or not could create a difficult dilemma.

Of course I, like I imagine the majority of people, prefer honesty, however IF one is honest with a person(s) or institution (company) who is not operating from a point of honesty, this requirement of disclosing a disability could very well be disastrous. At the very least it could possibly open those who are already vulnerable to exploits to further vulnerabilities. :confused: