Can an Employer Require Anger Management?

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Depending on the situation, there are times when an employer may ask an employee to take anger management courses to overcome an issue that is affecting the workplace or his job performance. This may be in reference to an issue the employee is having with another person at work, or with his general disposition that is offputting to other clients and colleagues.

Identification

Anger management is a type of intervention that helps people to realize when anger is justified and when they are overreacting. It also teaches these individuals how to handle their anger constructively, without causing others around them to feel threatened or intimidated. It may be a few classes or a full course of therapy, depending on how bad the person's anger issues actually are.

Requirement

An employer can require an employee to take anger management classes if the issue is affecting the person's job performance or other people around her. In other words, if she is taking her anger out on other people in the office or acting threatening or volatile, then anger management can be made to be a condition of continued employment. The only way it wouldn't be allowed to be required is if the anger was caused by a medical condition covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Effects

Anger management counseling for the employee in question may have a ripple effect throughout the office. Employees may feel more relaxed and focused without having to contend with the person's angry disposition. The employee may get the help he needs to return to the office with a better attitude and willingness to focus on job performance, without allowing his anger to get in the way.

Considerations

In many instances, an employer has to weigh the benefits of anger management against the safety of his employees. Since the anger management therapy takes time to undergo and complete, employers have to consider the safety of their employees in the meantime. If the employee in question is volatile or violent, then regardless of the requirement for anger management therapy, it may simply be better to terminate that employee to ensure the safety of the office staff. The exception to this is if the employee's anger issues are due to a medical condition. In this instance she is protected by the ADA, and you may need to work with her on therapy to resolve her anger issues before you can take further action.

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