Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Americans With Disabilities Act -- Duty to Disclose to Prospective Employer

Laura L. Nuss
District of Columbia Rehabilitation
Services Administration

Dear Director Nuss:

I am a disabled American who has received disability benefits paid by the U.S. Social Security Administration since October 29, 1991 because of severe mental illness. I registered with the Rehabilitation Services Administration in the year 2005 and submitted my “Ticket to Work” to RSA. I am still seeking employment. The D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed that my last employer terminated my employment (effective October 29, 1991) because of a determination, made in consultation with a psychiatrist, that the pressures of the work environment could lead me to become violent. The D.C. Government determined (D.C. Corporation Counsel) that my coworkers formed genuine and credible fears in August 1989 that I might become armed and extremely dangerous. The U.S. Capitol Police (Special Agent Steven J. Horan) advised me that I am listed on a federal registry of potentially violent offenders.

I am writing to inquire whether I have a duty to disclose facts about my potential for violence to a prospective employer. I understand that the Americans with Disabilities Act permits an employer to decline to hire an individual who poses a direct threat in the workplace. While my psychiatrists do not believe I pose a threat of violence at the present time, I am concerned that the pressures of the workplace could cause me to exhibit behaviors that led to violence risk determinations in the past. Do I have a duty to disclose my situation to a prospective employer?

Thank you very much for your help.

Gary Freedman

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