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IS FITNESS-FOR-DUTY EXAMINATION REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYEES?

  • April 18, 2022
  • 3 min read
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IS FITNESS-FOR-DUTY EXAMINATION REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYEES?

A FFD can be required for new or existing employees, as long as certain legal requirements are met and no discrimination is engaged in the testing process. Properly designed FFD testing can significantly reduce injuries and job productivity.

New hires are tested with FFD

Any physical post-offer, pre-placement tests for prospective employees must be given to all job candidates who apply for the same position. To clarify, an employer cannot decide to test only one candidate on a job related FFD test (e.g., lifting), when other applicants who apply for the same position are exempt from this requirement. In other words, if the FFD test includes essential job tasks (e.g., lifting), the applicant cannot arbitrarily choose to pass this specific test and exclude others who apply for the same job.’

Employees FFD testing

Employees might have FFD (Family & Friends Days) testing conducted under various circumstances. 

Ongoing Periodic FFD Testing

Employers might require physical examination testing of their employees, particularly those who work high-risk jobs since it’s not only appropriate but necessary to safeguard the health and well-being of their workers. Employers might require physical examination testing for high-risk jobs such as fire fighters, first responders, police officers, and employees who work on the remote north slope of Alaska or on a deep-water drilling rig in the North Sea. 

However, employers cannot require physical examination testing of workers who perform routine jobs (e.g., warehouse worker or welder) because such testing doesn’t satisfy the basic criteria of having business necessity for physical examination testing. In the same way as with new hires, incumbent employees with high-risk jobs should undergo periodic physical examinations for the specific role they hold.

“For Cause” FFD Testing

Employers may administer fitness for duty exams (FFD exams) for any employee, based on a “for cause” basis. A list of guidelines for Fitness for Duty testing is provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It’s legal to ask an employee to take a Fitness for Duty test when he or she is requesting reasonable accommodations to perform the essential duties of his or her job or when there is information that the employee may have a change in physical abilities or health that threatens the safety of himself/herself and co-workers.

FFD Testing for Return to Work After Injury, Illness, or Prolonged Absence

The return of an employee from FLMA leave must be approved prior to applying to the physical agility test (FFD). After an employee has been wounded or ill, such testing may only be conducted if there is reasonable concern that his or her functional abilities are impaired. FMLA employees taking care of family members cannot undergo physical agility testing.

Summary

Regardless of the type of Functional Fitness Test an employer chooses to do, the basic requirement is that it first develop Valid Functional Job Descriptions (VFJD) that outline the essential physical demands of a job. PCP Works‘ Systems specializes in FFD tests that are fully compliant with all federal and state regulations.