The Boss Just Wanted to Help


Assuming that psychological counseling might be a “medical examination” under the ADA, when may an employer require an employee to get counseling as a condition of continued employment? A recent 6th Circuit case provides some detail – the mere fact that the employee is emotional about a romantic relationship doesn’t cut it. In this case, the employee was seen crying, called a co-worker crying, was overheard arguing with her lover, and had a jealous fight with another co-worker. But her boss had almost no information to suggest that her emotional state was interfering with her work or that it posed a threat to anyone. In fact, the boss testified that he required counseling because the employee’s life was a mess and he thought he could help her. Now a jury will have to decide all the various elements to see whether ordering this employee to get counseling violated the ADA. Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority, Case. No. 13-1774 (6th Cir. Aug. 19, 2014).

The lesson here? When acting as the boss, don’t “help.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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