Case Study 2 Too Much Fatigue and Stress? You Decide Job fatigue and stress are significant problems faced airport serving a major metropolitan area. In 2011, by employees and their managers. Unfortunately, Donald began to experience depression-related when a case of depression arises as a result, trying problems largely due to severe stress and fatigue on to resolve the problem may be difficult-sometimes the job. A few months later, he requested and was leading to conflict-as this case illustrates. granted a disability leave for treatment of his illness. Donald Knolls was an air traffic control super After eight months, his personal physician, an expert visor for International Gateway Airport (IGA), an in depression treatment and a licensed consulting psychologist, agreed that he was sufficiently improved Donald responded, through an attorney he hired to to return to his former position. represent his position, that the disability leave provisions IGA then sent Donald to the physician it had were clear but, nevertheless, biased against an employee used when Donald first requested his disability leave. because they completely disregarded the opinion of his After an extensive evaluation, the doctor concluded physician and psychologist. According to Donald, “Why that while Donald had made considerable strides in bother to get expert medical opinions if they are dis- overcoming his depression, he should not be imme- missed?” He further noted, “I have never felt better. I’m diately returned to his former supervisory position really ready to get back to my job.” Finally, Donald’s law- because the conditions of the job had not changed yer contended that Donald was the victim of discrimi- and he was apt to find the stress too great. Instead, nation based on his former state of depression: “What he recommended that Donald be returned to a non- happened to Donald would not have happened if his supervisory position on a six-month trial basis with illness had been a more conventional physical injury.” the case to be reviewed at the end of that time. IGA followed the advice of its doctor and did not return Questions Donald to a supervisory position. Donald, angered by management’s decision, filed a grievance through 1. When conflicting medical opinions are pre- IGA’s alternative dispute resolution procedure, a pro sented, should the advice of a medical expert cedure that could end in binding arbitration. count more heavily than the opinion of a general During several meetings between Donald and physician? Explain your answer. management, the employer maintained that it had the 2. Is the charge of discrimination presented by right to rely on the medical opinion of “a fair and impar Donald’s lawyer relevant to this case? Explain tial” doctor who had determined that Donald should your answer. not be returned to the position that was the cause of his original stress-related emotional problems. Additionally, 3. If you were presented with this case, what deci- management pointed out to Donald that IGA’s disability sion would you reach? Explain. leave provision states that it “may require appropriate Source: Small Business Success Stories (Washington, DC medical documentation if it believes an employee is not Occupational Safety and Health Administration), accessed May 25, fit to return to his or her former position.”
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