A business owner in Key Biscayne, Florida asked: "In Florida, can I consider health and safety in deciding whether to hire an applicant or retain an employee with a disability?"
Many business owners in Florida are confused by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA permits a Florida employer to require that an individual not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others in the work-place. A direct threat means a significant risk of substantial harm. Florida employers covered by the ADA cannot refuse to hire or fire an individual because of a slightly increased risk of harm to himself or others. Nor can you do so based on a speculative or remote risk. The determination that an individual poses a direct threat must be based on objective, factual evidence regarding the individual's present ability to perform essential job functions. If an applicant or employee with a disability poses a direct threat to the health or safety of himself or others, you must consider whether the risk can be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level with a reasonable accommodation.
Analyzing what type of accommodations are required often involves an experienced labor & employment lawyer to assist you in reviewing the facts and making sure that you properly engage in the required interactive process.
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