In part one of this two-part series, the Orlando construction attorneys at Cotney Construction discussed the revised the definition of “epilepsy” established by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy. We also detailed some of the concerns contractors have about employing workers with epilepsy and dispelled the notion that workers with epilepsy can’t work in high-risk fields. Now, we will provide tips for contractors who want to ensure they are minimizing risk and maintaining compliance with federal laws.
Compliance with Federal Laws
The primary federal law governing employment opportunities for people with medical conditions is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the private employment section of the ADA. As we mentioned in part one, employers cannot exclude employees from work unless they pose a “direct threat” to their safety or the safety of others. Determining direct threats should be handled on a case-by-case basis. Contractors can assign a project manager to oversee a worker’s performance and verify whether or not they are able to perform the essential functions needed to complete the job safely.
To maintain compliance with the ADA and avoid a potential legal dispute, contractors must be able to identify the particular risk presented by the worker with epilepsy. Therefore, objective evidence or a “reasonable medical judgment that relies on the most current medical knowledge” is required to exclude a worker.
If you believe an individual is a direct threat, you should be able to identify the level of potential harm the person could cause, the duration of the risk, the likelihood for risk, and the imminence of potential harm. Consult an Orlando construction attorney before you make any employment-related decisions involving individuals with disabilities. If an individual feels that you have treated them unfairly or denied them the opportunity to work based solely on their medical history, you could find yourself paying up to $75,000 in penalties.
Workers with epilepsy can be valuable additions to your workforce. Most people with epilepsy live normal lives and only suffer from seizures on rare occasions. Epilepsy doesn’t prevent a person from being capable and able-bodied on the project site and you shouldn’t let it prevent you from adding a new asset to your workforce. For more information about employment law and employees with disabilities, consult an Orlando construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.