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Assessing Fitness for Duty

In order to provide a safe workplace, employees must be able to perform the essential duties of their jobs in a safe, secure, productive, and effective manner, without presenting a safety hazard to themselves, other employees, the university, or the public. If employees are impaired in some way that affects their work, they may be unfit for duty, and you should call the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for a same-day phone consultation. Use the following resources to learn how to initiate any needed interventions and refer to the university's policy on fitness for duty for more information.

Signs that an Employee may be Unfit for Duty

Depending on employees' job duties, the things that make them impaired and unable to work safely may vary. For example, diminished motor skills would make it unsafe for someone to operate heavy machinery but wouldn't make it unsafe for someone to do clerical work, and increasingly inappropriate interactions with people would make someone's customer service job ineffective whereas it would have less effect on the productivity of someone who works alone in an office all day. Taking this into consideration, the following signs may be indicators that an employee is not fit for duty:

  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Severe trembling
  • Notable problems with coordination
  • Markedly diminished memory or concentration
  • Suicidal or threatening statements

Fitness for Duty (FFD)

First discuss your concerns with the employee and listen to their explanation of their behavior. If you determine that the employee has an impairment that creates an unsafe environment when performing an essential function of their job, the employee may be placed on paid administrative leave until they have had a FFD exam.

The following forms need to filled out by the supervisor and signed by the employee.

The notification form should include a description of the problematic behavior(s), and the employee’s job description. The supervisor should sign the Request and Authorization form as a witness.

After these forms are filled out, send them to the Occupational Health Program. An appointment will be scheduled for the employee, and they will receive an authorization for examination or treatment form which will include the date, time and place of their appointment. The employee will take that form to their appointment.

The provider will assess the employee and fax the completed form back to OHP. The EAP counselor will then communicate with you regarding the employee’s return to work.

To initiate a fitness for duty intervention, contact the EAP at 512-471-3366. In the event of an immediate, life-threatening crisis, call 911. For non-crisis urgent matters after-hours, call 512-471-3399.

You may also need to make a referral to Office of Institutional Equity if the employee wants to discuss accommodations covered by the ADAAA.