Fitness, Leadership, Legal

Fit-for-Duty Evaluations

Issue 5 and Volume 172.

By JOHN K. MURPHY Your chief calls you into the office and orders you to undergo a fit-for-duty (FFD) examination because of documented poor performance, excessive use of sick leave, and other documented behavior that violates policy. You are a military veteran who has been dealing with many issues, among them depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Is this legal, and can the chief do this? The short answer is yes. It is legal with the caveat that the order for an FFD exam be for a legitimate evaluation process and not as a mechanism to terminate a member of an organization. The purpose should be that the firefighter has an opportunity to return to work, possibly with some conditions for improved future behavior or performance as a condition for return.1     The exam cannot be used to verify whether the employee has a disability or to determine the…

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