Fitness for Duty
The University endeavors to provide a safe work place for the benefit of all members of the University community. This policy covers only those situations in which an employee is having observable difficulty performing his/her work duties in a manner that is safe for the employee and/or for his or her co-workers, or is posing an imminent and serious safety threat to self or others. This policy proscribes the circumstances under which an employee may be referred for a fitness for duty evaluation. The purposes of this fitness for duty policy are:
- To help assure the safety and health of individuals in the University community or others with whom they have contact.
- To establish procedures by which the University can evaluate an employee’s ability to safely and competently perform her/his duties when a health or safety problem arises.
- To comply with the 1988 Federal Drug Free Workplace Act.
- “Employee” – employee for purposes of this policy means all faculty and staff employed by the University in any capacity, whether full or part-time or temporary or regular status.
- “On Call Employees” – Staff members who are required to restrict their whereabouts and activities in order to be available for consultation or return to work to meet emergencies. (see SPG 201.36).
- “Fitness For Duty” – The employee is physically and mentally capable of safely performing the essential functions of his/her job.
- “Coordinating Party”- This is the appropriate party/office (based on the specific situation) responsible for coordinating and facilitating the fitness for duty evaluation. The coordinating party could be, but is not limited to, Work~Connections, or the employee assistance service program(s). The responsibilities of the coordinating party are to:
- Identify who will conduct the fitness for duty evaluation
- Receive the results of the fitness for duty evaluation
- Share information about the results only as detailed in Section III, O: "Confidentiality/Privacy.”
- Coordinate payment by the University for the fitness for duty evaluation.
- Employees are responsible for managing their health in such a way that they can safely perform their essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation.
- Employees who have the responsibility for on-call shifts must remain in a fit condition for the entire on-call period.
- Supervisors may refer employees for a fitness for duty evaluation if they follow the adopted procedures.
- The determination by a supervisor to refer an employee for a fitness for duty evaluation must involve consultation with a Human Resource representative unless the nature of the situation dictates immediate attention.
- Application of this policy is not intended as a substitute for other University policies or procedures related to performance. In addition, application of this policy is not a substitute for discipline. In any situation involving misconduct, disciplinary action may occur.
- The University will pay the cost of fitness for duty evaluations.
- An impartial, independent health care evaluator with appropriate expertise (which will include one or more of the following: medical, psychological, alcohol, or other drug conditions) will conduct a fitness for duty evaluation.
- The University will make the final determination of an employee’s fitness for duty status.
- An employee referred for a fitness for duty evaluation will be relieved of duties pending completion of the evaluation.
- When an employee is found to be unfit for duty, his/her employment status will be determined on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with University policy and practice.
- An employee’s pay status while fitness for duty is being determined will be dependent on his/her employment status and the facts of the case.
- In all cases, the University must receive a “return to work/fitness for duty form” from the independent evaluator in before an employee may return to work.
- In most cases, a re-entry conference with the supervisor and a Human Resources representative (if appropriate) will occur prior to the employee’s return to work.
- Non-compliance with a request for a fitness for duty evaluation may constitute insubordination and be cause if disciplinary action is warranted.
- Records of fitness for duty evaluations will be treated as confidential medical records and be kept separate from existing department and personnel files; this information can be shared only on a strict “need to know” basis.
- After an evaluation, information available to the employee’s work unit will be limited to:
- Whether a person is fit to resume his/her job duties
- Whether a person is a direct threat to self or others
- Whether a person needs specific reasonable accommodations
Resources that are available to provide assistance about dealing with individual fitness concerns include:
For current procedures and forms on "Fitness for Duty" please consult one of the three resources cited above.