Fit-for-Duty News

26 Jul

Basis for Fit-For-Duty Evaluations of Incumbent Employees as Per EEOC Criteria:

Following a request for accommodation
Observance of performance problems relate to a known medical condition
Observance of symptoms indicating possible medical condition that threatens safety
Receipt of “reliable information” that an employee has a medical condition that threatens safety
Following return from leave when employer has a reasonable belief that employee’s ability may be impaired and threatens safety.
What is a Fitness-For-Duty (FFD) Evaluation?

A medical inquiry into the employee’s ability to perform job related functions.
Medical evaluation must be job related and consistent with business necessity.
All medical information becomes a confidential medical record.
FFD evaluation correlates employee impairment to job requirements.
What governs the employer’s ability to request a FFD?

The employer’s ability to request disability related information and require the employee to submit to a medical examination is governed by the ADA. All medical inquiries must be job related and consistent with business necessity.

When may an employer ask an employee a disability-related question or require an employee to submit to a medical examination? Generally, an employer only may seek information about an employee’s medical condition when it is job-related and consistent with business necessity. This means that the employer must have a reasonable belief based on objective evidence that: an employee will be unable to perform the essential functions his or her job because of a medical condition; or, the employee will pose a direct threat because of a medical condition. Employers also may obtain medical information about an employee when the employee has requested a reasonable accommodation and his or her disability or need for accommodation is not obvious. In addition, employers can obtain medical information about employees when they: are required to do so by another federal law or regulation (e.g., DOT medical certification requirements for interstate truck drivers); offer voluntary programs aimed at identifying and treating common health problems, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol; are undertaking affirmative action because of a federal, state, or local law that requires affirmative action for individuals with disabilities or voluntarily using the information they obtain to benefit individuals with disabilities.

What should an employer do if it learns about an employee’s medical condition from someone else? First, the employer should determine whether the information learned is reliable. The employer should consider how well the person providing the information knows the individual, the seriousness of the medical condition, and how the person learned the information. The employer should then determine whether the information gives rise to a reasonable belief that the employee in question will be unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job because of the medical condition or will pose a direct threat because of the condition. If the information does give rise to such a reasonable belief, then the employer may make disability-related inquiries or require a medical examination as permitted by the Guidance.” (EEOC, Guidance 915.002, 7/27/00)

Possible Triggers: Fitness-for-Duty Evaluation

Performance Issues – Substandard job performance in quality of work, work production, work attendance, negligence in work performance causing excessive damage or waste.
Behavioral Issues-Unusual outburst of anger, delusional thoughts, harassment, inappropriate behavior toward students and substance abuse.
Medical Concerns- Excessive absences, lengthy absences due to hospitalization/surgery, medication issues causing inattention/drowsiness/slurred speech, and expressed employee concerns.
Safety Concerns- (Direct Threat criteria) High number of occupational injuries, equipment operation safety, and monitoring critical processes.
Dr. Richard Bunch, CEO of WorkSaver lectures each year at the National Ergonomics and Exposition Conference on the topics of aging and ergonomics.)

To learn more about WorkSaver Systems, call us at (800) 414-2174

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