Dealing with employees who may pose a health or safety risk was the subject of comment by DiMuroGinsberg partner, Jonathan R. Mook, in a recent article appearing in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) online newsletter.
The article by Allen Smith, entitled “Rely on Conduct Rules to Discipline Workplace Threats,” explores the various ways in which employers may handle health and safety concerns without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act’s protections for disabled workers.
In the situation where an employer has objective evidence that an employee may pose a health or safety threat, Jonathan advises that the employer should consider placing the employee on leave and requesting that the employee undergo a fitness for duty exam before returning to his or her job. Before any type of job action is undertaken, however, Jonathan cautions that an employer should consult with employment counsel to ensure that any actions that are taken are in full compliance with the law. A copy of the SHRM article may be obtained at: http://www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/pages/conduct-rules-direct-threat.aspx.