According to the ADA, when an employer has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that an individual may have a psychological condition that impairs his or her ability to perform essential job functions or poses a direct threat, a fitness-for-duty evaluation (FFDE) is “job-related and consistent with business necessity” (42 U.S.C. §12112[d][A]; 29 C.F.R. §1630.14[c]). Case law has established that an employer need not wait for objective evidence of impaired performance before justifying an FFDE when the employee is engaged in dangerous work.
Dr. Fine is appointed an expert examiner by the Medical Board of California to conduct fitness-for-duty evaluations for physicians referred to the Probation Unit. She is also qualified to conduct fitness-for-duty evaluations for other professions as well.
The referring job agency should provide Dr. Fine with the following for an FFDE:
A written description of the objective evidence giving rise to concerns about the employee’s fitness for duty and any particular questions that the employer wishes the examiner to address.
Background and collateral information regarding the employee’s past and recent performance, conduct and functioning, including:
Job class specifications and/or job description
Previous remediation efforts
Commendations and testimonials
Internal affairs investigations
Formal citizen/public complaints
Use of force incidents
Reports related to officer involved shootings (for peace officers)
Incident reports related to any triggering events
Medical records, med certs that the department may have
Prior psychological evaluation results, if any
Other supporting or relevant documentation related to the employee’s psychological fitness for duty.