Unstable Employee Who Has Mentioned Suicide

I'm listing this post under the ADA section becasue I don't know where else to fit it in. Here is the deal. We have an employee who has been here for 15 years. She works part time and when she is focused she does very well. It has come to my attention that "Jane" has many issues in her personal life and on a regular basis she lets that overflow into her work life. Examples: she cries at work frequntly, sometimes all day. She tells her co-workers that she has no self worth and she has considered suicide. She has made it known that she is having an affair with a married man and things aren't going so well in the relationship and she is constantly distracted with this situation. She has financial problems, custody issues, the list goes on and on. Her manager has taken a lot of time to work with Jane and discuss all of this at length. We have provided the EAP brochure and encouraged her to get help through EAP and her regular doctors. She admitted she has not call EAP but recently was prescribed a new anti-depressant that didn't seem to be working as well as she needed.

Her manager is at her wits end on what to do, since Jane's performance is obviously affected and her co-workers are affected (Jane spends a LOT of time talking to her co-workers about all of her personal business and Jane also unloads her issues on our clients at times.)

The only thing I can come up with is a PiP to get Jane back on track. My issue is this - Jane has expressed that sometimes she thinks of suicide and driving her car into a brick wall after work. I worry that a PiP will only exasperate her situation and possibly make her more unstable. What if she did something to hurt herself?[U] Is her employer responsible in any way for what she might do?[/U] [U]And, do we have an obligation to somehow report her unstable situation to some agency or professional that can help her?[/U] I don't know our obligations and I'm worried that a PiP is only going to make things worse. If she failed at complying with a PiP and lost her job I truly worry about what she might do. [U]Is she somehow covered under ADA since she told us she takes an anti-depressant?[/U] Sorry for some many questions, this situation is complicated and has some unique elements. Thanks!


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  • It depends on the facts as to whether you could be held liable, but it is unlikely. You have tried to help her and have suggested the EAP. You can't control your employees, you can just assist them.

    Having said that, you can [U]require[/U] her to use the EAP as part of her performance plan. When you meet with her regarding her performance, you can stress the EAP and how it will help. Call the EAP first and get their advice on how to proceed. Ours has been a great resource for troubled employees.
  • I agree with Nae on this one.
    Not knowing the employee or all the facts, I would lean towards forcing EAP