If a New Hire Cannot Physically Perform the Job, He or She Can Be Terminated

Sometimes, a female applicant believes that she has the skills and ability to do a very strenuous job even if she hasn’t tried before. Especially if the job is in a largely male-dominated field, you may be tempted to hire her, even if only to avoid a potential sex discrimination claim.

Go ahead and give her a chance, knowing that if it doesn’t work out, you can terminate her. Just make sure you document everything.

Recent case: Amy, a 37-year-old, 5-foot-1-inch woman who weighs 125 pounds, applied for a job as a pipe­ fitter. She claimed she had no problems lifting 50 pounds or doing any of the other strenuous work associated with the position.

Amy was hired. She almost immediately had trouble and went out on workers’ compensation several times. When her supervisors concluded she simply couldn’t physically do the job, she was terminated.

She sued, alleging sex discrimi­nation and retaliation for filing ­workers’ comp claims.

The court tossed out her case. It reasoned that the company had proved she could not do the job. The employer tracked her mistakes and requests for help, and spoke with co-workers, including another female pipe fitter. The court said that was enough to justify terminating her. (MacDonald-Bass v. J.E. Johnson Contracting, No. 10-2318, 6th Cir., 2012)

Another option: Come up with a job-related prehire test that is ­consistent with business necessity. Be sure to consider reasonable accommodations for any disabled applicants.

This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com:http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/33198/if-your-new-hire-cant-physically-perform-the-job-feel-free-to-terminate

[Author’s Note:  The first time I read the title of this article, I was horrified.  It seemed to me to be full of ADA issues.  D’oh!  The employee was fit but overly optimistic.  There is no need to accommodate; i.e., change someone’s job or transfer the person if the reason they are unable to perform the essential functions of the job has nothing to do with a disability.  Also, I wish the authors would come up with a traditionally female job sought by a male – Can you think of a reverse claim that fits these facts?  – Mary Wright]

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
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