“Since I was diagnosed with ADHD during my Performance Improvement Plan (‘PIP’), should that affect things?”

Question: I was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”), and tried to do all the work and meet all the deadlines. I was having difficulties.

Before the end of the time period I was given to improve (60 days), I was diagnosed with something called “Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder,” or ADHD, and I am being treated for it by a doctor. The doctor says that my ADHD contributed (at least) to my difficulties. At the end of my 60 days, I was told by my supervisor that I was improving, but that I was unsuccessful in my Performance Improvement Plan.

I have 18 years of successful Performance Reviews, and only three years before my retirement. What should I do?

        Weston, West Virginia

Answer: As I hope you have seen, we have several newsletter articles, answers to questions, and even a video on this subject, free for your viewing. I hope you will take the few minutes you may need to help yourself.

I suggest you consider preparing a “PIP Protest Memo,” a memo, to be sent by email, to a high-level executive, and the Head of HR, questioning the validity of the Performance Improvement Plan.

If you would like to obtain a “model” memo to help you respond
to your Performance Improvement Plan [click here]

It is crucial that you mention in your “PIP Protest Memo” your new ADHD diagnosis, which even your doctor believes may be responsible for your not achieving success in the Performance Improvement Plan.

ADHD is a recognized disability, especially if you have been placed on medications. Request, as an “Accommodation to My Disability” a new, different, simpler job description, and a new, different, simpler Performance Improvement Plan, both to be reviewed by your doctor. We have had clients diagnosed with ADHD who have had their employers – as a necessary LEGALLY REQUIRED “accommodation” directed by their doctors – give them one task at a time, instead of multi-tasking, which is often harder to address for those with ADHD.

By the way, it would not be a bad idea to mention how close you are to retirement, to both (a) remind your employer that your “accommodation” will not be necessary for that long, and (b) you may suffer significant harm – inability to get reemployed and potential loss of pension – if you are unfairly, improperly and ILLEGALLY pushed out of your job in this way.

The federal law, and possibly the law in your state, too, requires that employers provide “reasonable accommodations” to those with diagnosed disabilities. This is an important factor in your matter, and I strongly urge you to quickly address the situation as I have suggested above. 

If you would like to obtain a model letter to assist you in making a Request for Accommmodations, [click here].

I hope this helps, I really, really do.

          Best, Al Sklover  

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.