What are Fitness for Duty Examinations?
Fitness for duty examinations, also known as fit-for-duty tests or exams, are exams that help determine whether an employee is physically and/or psychologically able to safely perform a job or job duties.
Fitness for duty examinations can be requested at various times by an employer, for example, during the hiring process after an offer has been made, when an employee is ready to return to work after a serious injury or illness, or if there are concerns about an employee’s ability to perform their job tasks. These exams are regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and fitness for duty exams should only be requested if they are job-related and meet business necessity requirements.
Fitness for duty examinations are in place to make sure an employee can safely perform their job and to make sure an employee is able to meet their job requirements. For example, if you work in a factory and you are inspecting a product, you may be required to have a vision screen to make sure you meet minimum vision requirements to ensure you are able to detect defects in what you are inspecting. Another example includes, if you are being hired as an employee on a production line who has to frequently lift and carry boxes that weigh more than 20 lbs, you may be required to perform a lift test to make sure you can safely perform the required lifting at work.
What Should I Expect During a Fitness for Duty Examination?
Fitness for duty examinations will vary based on your specific job function. The exam may include a medical and/or psychological evaluation. You may be asked to complete a health questionnaire or may be asked a series of questions by a healthcare provider. The physical exam may include testing such as:
- Vision screen
- Hearing tests
- Lab tests, including blood or urine tests
- Vital sign evaluation, including blood pressure check
- Range of motion tests
- Lung function tests
- Diagnostic tests such as X-rays
- Lift tests
Department of Homeland Security, ” Hiring, Fitness for Duty, and Reasonable Accommodation,” March 10, 2011, https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/training/xus/crcl/employmentdisabilities/Employment_Disabilities/pdf/Fitness%20for%20Duty%20(Final).pdf
Legal Information Institute, “Fitness-for-duty certification, Cornell Law School, https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/29/825.312
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Enforcement Guidance on Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees under the ADA,” July 27, 2000, https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/enforcement-guidance-disability-related-inquiries-and-medical-examinations-employees