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Predicting the Potential for Violence


Michelle Anderson, an attorney in both the New Orleans and Tampa offices, was quoted in the Human Resource Executive Online article “Predicting the Potential for Violence.”  The article cited a recent case of a suicidal firefighter who purposely set fire to her father’s home. She was terminated from her employment after it was determined that she may endanger the safety of her fellow firefighters. She sued for discrimination based on her documented issues with depression and anxiety. The jury found the termination to be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The article noted that the message to employers from this decision is the importance of working with the appropriate professionals to make an “individualized assessment” of an employee’s psychological well-being before deciding whether to terminate. Michelle said: “If an employee is requesting specific accommodations, ask them to put this in writing. HR leaders should document all conversations regarding the assessment process and meetings with the employee. They may also consider having a witness present for any discussions with the employee.”


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