If you are lucky enough to get the doctor on the phone to discuss your needs regarding the report, the questions you need answered, and the logistics of the evaluation, there is no guarantee that you will actually get the report on time. See my regarding fitness for duty cover letters. Requiring a medical examination; or b. If so, you are required to maintain a workplace free from recognized hazards that might result in death or serious injury. The staff has been great and we are pleased. In addition, you may not be discriminated against in terms or conditions of employment due to your refusal to sign an authorization form Civil Code Section 56.
No, but this does not mean that there is no confidentiality as to the information you provide to the doctor, as long as you do not provide any additional authorization to release your medical information. The guidelines, however, do not specify how much experience is sufficient and there is as yet no generally accepted formal credentialing for police psychologists as a distinct professional specialty. The California Court of Appeal, in Garrett v. In some cases, an examiner may ask the examinee to provide relevant medical or mental health treatment records and other data for the examiner to consider. In situations where the employee must travel farther to see a specific type of specialist, employers may offer to provide transportation for the employee to and from the evaluation. In some cases, there may be a discussion about accommodations that would enable the individual to continue in the position. If the exam is scheduled for early afternoon, make sure you had lunch.
Instead, prudent employers should demand such examinations only after they have themselves directly observed conduct that prompts them to reasonably believe an employee poses a direct threat or cannot perform the essential functions of his or her job because of a medical condition. This article is not inclusive of all relevant information, which may apply to a specific topic. After further discussion with the client, and review of the personnel file, it was brought to my attention that the employee also suffered from an autoimmune disease that may have been the source of her pain not the prior back surgeries. By the same token, I ask that you try not to bust my chops more than necessary. DuPont required that Pettus enter into a rehab program as a condition of employment, and when he refused, terminated him. App 4th 1393, 1 Cal.
As we all know, not everyone that wishes to be a police officer has the emotional, physical or mental ability to do this job that is so demanding. This article is intended to provide general guidance to those subject to fitness for duty exams and cannot comprehensively address every issue. Remember, virtually all the information your department needs can be communicated without your waiver. Inquiring as to whether an employee has a disability; or c. We do the labor-intensive stuff: finding the right doctors to conduct the evaluation, training them to ensure accuracy of the evaluation and report and handling the logistics and scheduling of the evaluation including all necessary contracts. Use of and access to the content contained in this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Author and the user or reader.
To make some sense of this process, here are some things that you, your referring supervisor, and the examining psychologist should all know. An employer can form reasonable belief based on objective evidence which is required to justify a fitness for duty evaluation if, for example, the employee self-discloses a medical or psychological condition, the employer observes serious performance issues, there is excessive absence due to illness or injury, or the employer observes unsafe behavior or conduct in the workplace. Expect to be treated courteously and behave accordingly. Doing nothing can come back on you, especially within the field of law enforcement and public safety. Bear in mind, however, that I may not be able to answer many of the questions you ask me. Remember, the more comfortable you feel during the examination, the better your memory will be and the more accurate will be the information I obtain.
In a case of first impression in New Jersey, the Appellate Division cautioned that employers may only require an employee to undergo a mental health fitness-for-duty examination in limited circumstances. Retaining a doctor in the right specialty is critical to obtaining a useful fitness for duty evaluation. For example, the doctor may tell the department that an officer cannot presently handle the stress of patrol duties, but may not tell the department that the officer is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Do you need a neurologist or a neurosurgeon? Is there any time when I will want to sign an authorization form? Takeaway for New Jersey Employers This case makes clear that New Jersey employers cannot require an employee to undergo a medical test that does not serve a legitimate business purpose. There are no state or federal laws specifying deadlines or windows of time in which the evaluation must take place, but most employers will look to have an evaluation conducted as soon as possible. He is the author of numerous books.
That case concerned a 22-year employee of the DuPont Corporation, who sought to take time off from work because of a disabling stress-related condition. An order that directs an employee to discuss his psychological state during a fitness for duty examination would appear to qualify as a compelled statement in accordance with the standards set forth in Lybarger v. Measuring the facts against these standards, the Appellate Division criticized the Township for having failed to investigate the anonymous letter for over eight months but then relying on the letter as the sole basis for requiring Williams to undergo the exam. The case of Pettus v. He has been observed on several occasions to be fatigued and in physical distress, as well as to behave in an absent-minded and distracted way. A fitness for duty evaluation was scheduled and the orthopedic surgeon opined that the employee was fully fit to perform her job without any restrictions.
The examining doc may declare you medically fit to return to duty; recommend a course of treatment that will restore you to such fitness a knee brace or surgery, antihypertensive medication or exercise ; or declare you permanently unfit for duty. Documentation and an expert opinion may also help ward off claims of wrongful discharge. A more in-depth discussion of the applicable federal and state laws can be found. This tool provides the investigator with some additional insight into the applicant in addition to the usual one on one interview. More importantly, if you feel threatened or concerned that an employee may hurt him or herself, or is in a position to cause harm to the public, call for a consultation. When an employer does not directly observe conduct of this nature, the employer should promptly undertake efforts to determine if any third party information it has received is reliable and can be verified.