Can we discipline an employee for tardiness related to a disability?
The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, including changes to work rules.
Our chain of stores has a strict policy about breaks: Employees get two ten-minute breaks during a shift, as well as half an hour for lunch. One of our employees, who works as a cashier and a shelf stocker, has received two verbal warnings about taking extra breaks or extending her breaks beyond ten minutes. It happened again this week, and I sat down with her to give her a written warning. This is a serious disciplinary step; after another infraction, she could be fired. She told me that she is diabetic, and that she needs more frequent breaks (and sometimes longer breaks) to use the bathroom, eat, and test her insulin levels. This makes sense, and I think we can figure out a way to allow her the time she needs. But what's our obligation regarding discipline? Should I still give her a written warning? Should I rescind the earlier verbal warnings?