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How to Deal With an Employee Who Is a Direct Threat to Self or Others

Author: Robin E. Shea, Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP

An employee's right to reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is not absolute. If an employee's disability is such that keeping the employee in his or her job would create a "direct threat" to the health or safety of the employee or others, an employer might be excused from making a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

The ADA, among other things:

  • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability;
  • Regulates how medical information may be obtained and maintained in connection with employment; and
  • May require an employer to provide a qualified disabled employee or an applicant with a reasonable accommodation.

The following are steps an employer should take when dealing with employees whom the employer believes may present a "direct threat" to the health or safety of the employee or others.