What requirements do employers have to meet to ask for a fitness-for-duty exam?

Employers that require a fitness-for-duty exam can do so if they have concrete and factual reason to believe a physical or psychological condition would prevent an employee from doing necessary tasks or would be a danger to themselves or others. If such a condition falls under the classification of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), however, an employer has fewer options.

If an employee is coming back to work following a serious injury, the employer may test the employee’s readiness with a medical examination. For example, someone with a rather serious back injury may be required to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam before the employer can allow them back to work, just to be sure they are able to perform all tasks of the job safely.

A fitness-for-duty exam may only be administered to an employee with a disability if it is directly job-related and meets ADA standards. These standards may be met if the employer has reasonable belief that:

  • said condition will make essential tasks nearly impossible
  • said condition will affect the safety of the employee or others.

If you had a serious workplace injury that required you to take off work and you are now recovered and returning, your employer may require a test to ensure you are back to full health. Learn about any steps employers could take following your injury at work at WorkSTEPS by calling (512) 617-4100.

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