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The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, including those with mental impairments, that substantially limit their major life activities–unless the accommodation causes an undue hardship on the employer; or the employee poses a direct threat either to his safety or the safety of others. But what does all that really mean? When interacting with employees with psychiatric conditions, which fears and concerns are valid? How should employers address these concerns, especially in light of the increase in and devastating damage caused by incidents of workplace violence? How do you know when someone has a psychiatric illness or is just plain strange? And, when someone does have a psychiatric illness, what are your obligations? Not knowing the answers to these questions could guarantee you legal trouble. By becoming aware of your responsibilities you can take your first steps toward preventing tragedy, ensuring a productive, engaged workforce and safe workplace, and that you are protected against legal liablility.
Janette Levey Frisch, the founder of The EmpLAWyerologist Firm, has over 20 years of legal experience, more than 10 years of which she has spent in Employment Law. It was during her tenure as sole in-house counsel for a mid-size staffing company headquartered in Central New Jersey, with operations all over the continental U.S., that she truly developed her passion for Employment Law. Janette and The EmpLAWyerologist Firm operate under this core belief: It is possible, and it is in an employer’s best interest, to proactively solve workforce challenges before they become problems before they result in lawsuits or steep fines caused by government audits.
Janette works with employers on most employment law issues, acting as the Employer’s Legal Wellness Professionals, to ensure that employers are in the best position possible to avoid litigation, audits, employee relations problems, and the attendant, often exorbitant costs. She authors the firm’s weekly blog, where you can read each week, in plain English (not legalese), about issues impacting employers today. She has written articles on many different employment law issues for many publications, including EEO Insight, Staffing Industry Review, @Law, and Chief Legal Officer.
She has also spoken and trained on topics, such as Criminal Background Checks in the Hiring Process, Joint Employment, Severance Arrangements, Pre-Employment Screening among many, many others. She also serves as a Task Force Member of the Workplace Violence Prevention Institute, a multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to providing cutting edge resources to employers serious about taking a holistic, proactive approach to preventing and minimizing workplace violence.