View Full Version : concern for my employee
I am a supervisor for a shop of 50 aircraft electricians (on non-passenger aircraft). Of those electricians, Ten of them are final inspectors, in other words they assure that the aircraft is safe-for-flight (lots of attention to detail, and no room for an oops.) My problem is that one of these highly talented individuals has Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. The man is very intelligent, and knows his systems information very well, but he misses things that in his line of work he should not miss, (like stepping back from the job and looking to see that everything around the work area has been put back together correctly.) He has told me that he has AdultADD and that he is taking Adderall XR, as a supervisor, and a caring friend, i don't want to set him up for failure by keeping him in this position, or risk the lives of those who will fly in these aircraft. Problem is that i have no idea if i should take this route (his medical condition) to pursue the thought that he should or shouldn't be working in this position. I have heard stories and seen programs related to the down-sides of this medicine, but when i look up the contraindications on various sites, it very briefly alludes to the fact that a person taking Adderall should not operate heavy machinery. I want to do right by this man, and ensure that his medical condition is being treated effectively, but at the same time i don't want to do him wrong by either risking his chances of future career advancement, while at the same time i really don't want to clean up after a smoking hole in the ground from a cargo aircraft mishap. What type of information is out there concerning a kind of medically induced, overfocus of attention? (like having horse blinders)
11-22-04, 09:21 PM
Taking too high a dosage of any psychomotor stimulant can cause an effect like that, but it's not common. As far as him being able to do the job, simply consider it like this: ignore that he has a medical condition. If he is ADD, but he is doing the job fine, then there is no problem. If, however, he is not properly doing his job, then he can't be employed in that position. Just because a person has a disability, that does NOT entitle them to a free walk. He still needs to be able to perform his task, because his job is very important, and if he can't, then he needs to be moved.
11-22-04, 09:49 PM
Welcome to the ADD Forums Sparky,
I'm finding it a little ironic that if I'm not mistaken most stimulants were discovered/invented...whatever --for pilots. My Xs family have both commercial helicopter & private fixed wing pilots that still take these same drugs (missions, crop spraying, etc).
I'm also finding it unusual that you would even consider using his diagnosis as a reason to pursue moving him to another area.
I have many family members in the service and I cannot imagine my brother ever 2nd guessing himself over this...I hear that you're trying to be nice
but truthfully my brother and his wife both, retired Air Force crew chiefs would never, and I mean never step down and put friendship above their aircraft.
Please no disrepect I think it's honorable that you are coming to this forum seeking a fair answer to your dilemma regarding one of our own, I'm just wondering if there may be a portion of this story that I'm not understanding.
Seems pretty cut and dry to me about the job performance what doesn't compute is that you feel the urge to use a medical reason in changing this person's duties.
I wouldn't worry about the medication causing problems. Only very high dosage would make one unable to operate machinery, normal dosage is intended to improve his attention to details. There may be a short period of time adjusting to the medication where coordination or judgement might be impaired slightly but overall it should improve his performance.
The whole "don't operate heavy machinery" bit is a somewhat generic warning applied to a lot of medications... like, oh, just about every antidepressant I've read about, for instance. It is not a big deal for Adderall, as it does not cause sedation at proper dosages.
What KMiller said is right, though. If he is doing his essential job functions correctly (inspecting aircraft), then there's no reason for concern. If he would be able to do the job with a "reasonable accomodation," then, under the law, he'd have the right to ask for one. Legally, I don't think that, as an employer, you're required to suggest accomodations, only to provide them if they are reasonable and requested. Keep in mind, I am not a lawyer, though. :D
Basically, I'd take your concerns to him. Ask if there is anything you could do to help him do his job. If it's as simple as having another inspector give a quick "check over" to make sure everything's put back together correctly, and doing so wouldn't cut down on productivity too much, then that could be a "reasonable accomodation." If you want to help him, that's what I'd do.
If it's as simple as having another inspector give a quick "check over" to make sure everything's put back together correctly, and doing so wouldn't cut down on productivity too much, then that could be a "reasonable accomodation." If you want to help him, that's what I'd do.
This is a good point and part of your original concerns which is legitimate and it could be helpful to have such a system in place. The guy is probably very capable of doing his work, maybe even better than others but things like this final check are the sort of thing that someone with ADD could use help with. The idea is to recognize the strengths & weaknesses. He probably is better than his peers at other sorts of tasks and could lean more toward those types of things while getting some support with the things that are not his strong point. Folks with ADD can definitely have strengths as well (often significant strengths) so I'd ask him for his thoughts about how to fit in best & be most productive.
11-23-04, 04:38 AM
This story reminds me of the time that my sister, who is terrified of flying, flew back to the city from her boyfriends' parents' vacation home in Maine, in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm. He wanted to keep up the hours on his pilots license in the family puddle jumper. She rode screaming/crying hysterically with her head tucked between her knees right up until he said "uh-oh" when the thingy that mixes the oil to fuel ratio fell off in his hand and they had to make an emergency landing for repairs. His brother and father were both commercial pilots and all male members of his family display numerous ADD/ ADHD traits. Does kinda make you wonder....
My question is this, does this employee actually miss things in his repairs or is he just not conforming to shop clean-up techniques? The latter would be a very common problem and complaint. Also, being intelligent, as you say, and ADD may mean that he is able to diagnose problems and solve problems that others may not see at all. So accomodating the clean-up issue to some extent may be in order. However, if he is actually neglecting the work and not catching potential problems due to oversight, he may need to be moved elsewhere. Lives should not be endangered.
The former pilot/boyfriend has been my brother-in-law for the past 18 years and as a mechanical engineer has successfully worked his way up the ladder so that he now supervises 1000's of people with a major defense contractor. I'm not sure I could trust him to remember to feed my cat for a week, but I feel comfortable knowing he's in charge of the nuclear plant down the road.