For the September 2020 issue of HR News, Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Tim McConnell authored an article outlining how employers can use the “direct threat medical assessment” provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to manage hostile or threatening employee behavior.
The ADA prohibits employers from requiring an employee to undergo a medical examination unless the procedure can be “shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.” To meet that threshold, employers must have a “reasonable belief based on objective evidence” that (1) an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition; or (2) an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.
A direct threat under the ADA is “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.” An employer must conduct an individualized assessment of the employee’s ability to safely perform their job functions, and the determination of direct threat must be supported by an objective assessment of the facts and/or medical evidence from an examination.
The full article, which includes additional detail on what the ADA allows in terms of medical examinations and a practical application of the law, is available here. The article, “Understanding and Making Effective Use of Direct Threat Assessments Under the ADA,” was published in the September 2020 issue of HR News, the flagship publication for the International Public Management Association for Human Resources.