Can a supervisor require a troubled employee to seek psychological counseling?


A supervisor received complaints that an employee, who has always been considered a good worker, is having personal problems that are affecting her behavior at work. Now, the supervisor received a report that the employee had a meltdown and yelled at someone over the phone while in the office. Can the supervisor require the employee to seek psychological counseling?


Maybe. In a Sixth Circuit case, the court ruled that requiring an employee to get psychological counseling could be considered requiring a medical examination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits employers from requiring a medical examination as a condition of employment unless it is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity. So long as the employee is still capable of performing her job and does not appear to pose a direct threat to anyone, the supervisor should refrain from requiring her to seek counseling from a mental health professional. However, the supervisor can discuss her inappropriate behavior with her and hold her to the same work standards as other employees.

Source: Kroll v White Lake Ambulance Authority (6thCir 2012) 691 F.3d 809.

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