There are many reasons employers sometimes need an employee to have a fit for duty evaluation. One purpose for performing a fit for duty evaluation is to ascertain whether an employee is able to fulfill job requirements without compromising their health and safety. Another reason is to make sure that applicants can meet all the health and physical standards of the job before they are hired or considered for hire. A fit for duty evaluation can also be used to see what accommodations employees with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses need in order to continue working.
When employers have the need to establish whether or not a particular employee can safely execute his or her work duties, they usually request the employee have a fit for duty evaluation. The employer may request a fit for duty evaluation for reasons including an employee’s work-related injuries, safety concerns, performance issues, or transfer to a new position. Fit for duty evaluations include input from the employer as well as from the medical professional who performing the exam.
A fit for duty evaluation should be performed by an outside medical professional in order to guarantee an objective, non-biased evaluation and final report. The evaluation analyzes the employee’s job requirements, assesses the employee’s physical capabilities, and assesses the employee’s psychological state. The medical professional who performs the evaluation prepares the final report after the evaluation is finished. The report includes recommendations suggesting whether or not the employee should return to work or continue in his or her present position. For employees that are recovering over a short period of time, the report may make recommendations for their recovery period. The report may also recommend certain accommodations for employees with long-term disabilities.
Employees who are absent from work for any length of time due to injury or illness of any kind are usually required to submit a fit for duty evaluation before they are permitted to resume working. One reason employers request fit for duty evaluations under these circumstances is to protect themselves, as well as the employee. The evaluation assures the employer that the employee is fit for duty and will not be in danger in the work environment. Requiring fit for duty evaluations also protects the employer from high insurance costs. The fit for duty evaluations also uphold and demonstrate the company’s beliefs that employee health and safety are essential to a healthy work place.
An employer may also request a fit for duty evaluation when safety concerns arise regarding an employee’s behavior on the job. If someone makes an observation that raises questions about whether an employee is fit enough to fulfill his or her work responsibilities, the employer must submit a request for that employee to have a fit for duty evaluation. There is a process that the employer must follow to submit the referral in order to protect the employee(s) involved. Once the fit for duty evaluation has taken place, the final report is used to help the employer determine if the employee is fit for duty. Included in the final report are medical records, personnel documents, test results, and recommendations. Recommendations might be accommodations for short-term recovery or accommodations for long-term disabilities, depending on the findings of the fit for duty evaluation.