FITNESS FOR DUTY
FITNESS FOR DUTY EVALUATIONS
Fitness for duty evaluations are psychological examinations that are typically requested by the employer. These evaluations are intended to determine whether the employee can safely perform essential job functions. Fitness for duty questions are typically raised by employers when the employee’s ability to work in an effective and/or safe manner suffers and it is suspected this decline in functioning is related to or caused by a mental health problem. Work performance can be impacted by many mental health issues but some of the more prevalent causes are psychosis, mania, depression, problems with anger, and dementia.
Because the requirements and essential job functions of positions vary widely, the focus of the evaluation also necessitates some flexibility. Typically the employer specifies which areas of performance and functioning are of concern. The evaluation is tailored to target these areas in an accurate and relevant manner. The psychologist performs psychological testing, a clinical interview, record review, and collateral interviews in order to provide direct feedback about the employee’s capacities, mental health issues, and (in some cases) recommendations for treatment, accommodations, work restrictions, or expected timeframe for recovery. Utilizing a variety of data sources is important for providing accurate and reliable opinions. It is imperative that all opinions of the psychological evaluator are based on the totality of the available data. Transparent, objective, detailed, and readable reports provide the employer the most useful information. Based on the demands of the position and the individual’s mental health, an opinion on the employee’s fitness for duty is submitted to the employer.