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Food Handlers

There is a specific requirement that the secretary of health and human services develop regulations on allowable restrictions on food handlers with communicable diseases. Like all other communicable disease problems, when faced with determining whether a person poses a threat of contagion, a physician should contact the state or local health department. (See Chapter 23.)

These provisions do not preempt specific federal laws and regulations on evaluating persons in certain public safety positions such as aviation and transportation. In general, however, the proposed regulations make it difficult for an employer to disqualify a person based on a threat of personal harm or harm to others. This conflicts with the increasing pressure on employers to protect fellow employees and the public from dangerous employees. The ADA does not give employers immunity for liability for injuries caused by a dangerous employee. The ADA's limitations on preemployment inquiries on behavioral problems also conflict with efforts to encourage employers in businesses such as child care and delivery services to protect the public by screening for sexual offenders and other dangerous individuals.

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