The Disabled Workforce: Fitness-for-Duty Examinations

DMEC Staff

Fitness-for-Duty Examinations and the Interactive Process

Fitness-for-Duty ExamBy Rachel Shaw, JD

CEO and Principal
Shaw HR Consulting

Simply put, a fitness-for-duty (FFD) examination is a tool to use when you are stuck. This can be when a case is not progressing toward return to work, involves multiple comorbid conditions, or even when it appears to be a “simple” case.

This is the time to begin the interactive process, which requires clear medical information as a basis for reasonable accommodation decisions. Obtaining this data is often a roadblock for employers. The key to FFD examinations is understanding how and when to best use this tool and what information it should yield.

An employer can coordinate an FFD examination with a qualified healthcare provider whenever the need to do so is job-related, is consistent with business necessity,1 and there are objective facts2 that pose concerns about safety or an employee’s ability to fully perform the duties of the job. FFD examinations are used when employers need clarification on work restrictions, leave needs and/or duration, and:

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