Fit for Duty Policy Statement
Montclair State University is committed to providing a safe workplace for the benefit of the University community. In order to provide a safe work environment, employees must be able to perform their job duties in a safe, secure, productive, and effective manner, and remain able to do so throughout the entire time they are working. Employees who are not fit for duty may present a safety hazard to themselves, to other employees, to the University, or the public. This policy applies to all University staff and faculty.
The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures by which the University will evaluate an employee’s fitness for duty when an employee is:
- Having observable difficulty or inability to perform essential work duties as determined by the supervisor or based upon reliable information from credible sources; or
- Posing an imminent and serious safety threat to self or others based upon behavior observed by the supervisor or reliable information from credible sources.
Fit for duty means the employee is able to perform the duties of their job, or the employee does not pose a threat to the safety of him/herself or others.
Licensed Health service provider is a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, dentist, podiatrist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife, or a licensed clinical social worker.
Supervisor means: for staff, the person to whom they report; and for faculty, their Chair or Dean.
- Employees are responsible for managing their health in a manner that allows them to safely perform their job responsibilities.
- Employees must come to work fit for duty and must perform their job responsibilities in a safe, secure, productive, and effective manner during the entire time they are working.
- Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisors when they are not fit for duty.
- Supervisors/managers are responsible for observing the attendance, performance, and behavior of the employees they supervise.
- Supervisors/managers are responsible for following this policy’s procedures when presented with circumstances or knowledge that indicate that an employee may be unfit for duty.
- Confidentiality of medical records: Any document containing medical information about an employee is considered a medical record and is regarded as confidential. Human Resources Benefits Department and Occupational Health will maintain medical records in a file separate from all other employee records.
- Compliance with applicable collective bargaining agreements in the evaluation and administration of fitness for duty.
- The supervisor who receives reliable information from credible sources that an employee may be unfit for duty, or through personal observation believes an employee to be unfit for duty, will validate and document the information or observations as soon as is practicable and contact Human Resources Benefits Department. Behaviors that may trigger the need to evaluate an employee’s fitness for duty may include, but are not limited to, problems with dexterity, coordination, concentration, memory, alertness, vision, speech, inappropriate interactions with coworkers or supervisors, inappropriate reactions to criticism, or suicidal or threatening statements, and which affect the ability of the employee to perform their job duties, or pose a threat to the safety of themselves or others.
- The supervisor will present the information or observations to Human Resources Benefits Department at the earliest possible time in order to validate them; and will allow the employee to explain his or her actions, or to correct any mistakes of fact contained in the description of those actions. The Human Resources Benefits Department will then determine whether the employee should leave the workplace immediately for safety reasons.
- In situations where there is a basis to think that a crime may have been committed and/or the employee is making threats to harm himself or herself or others, or is acting in a manner that is immediately dangerous to himself or herself or others, the supervisor shall contact The University Police Department. The supervisor should also notify Human Resources Benefits Department. In the event of a workplace accident or injury that occurs when Human Resources Benefits staff is not available, the supervisor shall contact University Police and Occupational Health, who will inform Benefits as soon as possible thereafter.
- If the employee discloses a medical condition or disability, Human Resources Benefits Department will engage in the “interactive process” to make a determination whether a reasonable accommodation can be provided to allow the employee to perform their job duties and the next step in the process.
- Based on the descriptions provided by the supervisor and the interactive process, Human Resource Department of Benefits will determine whether a fitness for duty evaluation is required by Occupational Health or a Licensed Health service provider and, if so, the Human Resources Benefits Department will determine the type of leave available to the employee to be used pending a complete assessment of the situation.
- The Human Resources Benefits Department will provide a completed Physical Demands Analysis Form and Job Description to Occupational Health or the designated licensed health service provider for completion to certify whether the employee is fit to return to work. The Licensed Health Service Provider form will include a description of the behaviors, impact on performance of essential job duties, and safety risks leading to the request for evaluation and job description.
- The University will be responsible for the cost of a fitness for duty evaluation performed by Occupational Health or a licensed health service provider designated by the University. The employee will be responsible for the cost of a fitness for duty evaluation performed by a medical professional selected by the employee and approved by the University.
- Based on the information provided by the licensed health service provider, Human Resources Benefits Department will advise the supervisor whether the employee should return to work and, if so, the conditions of return, including whether additional follow-up meetings are necessary. Human Resources Benefits Department will determine the final decision on whether a provider’s certification provided by a medical professional selected by the employee will be accepted. Human Resources Benefits will contact Occupational Health to conduct its review or an assessment. Occupational Health will evaluate the employee’s ability to perform essential job functions, which will be coordinated by Human Resources Benefits Department. The University will pay for the cost of an Occupational Assessment if required.
- The employee is responsible for providing their own transportation unless it’s an emergency situation.
- The employee must comply with all aspects of the fitness for duty and evaluation procedures, including furnishing necessary consent and release forms to the health service provider. Noncompliance may be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination. Information will be requested from the health service provider regarding work restrictions that may be required upon the employee’s return to work.
- Application of this policy is not intended as a substitute for other University policies or procedures related to performance, nor is it intended as a substitute for discipline. Situations involving violations of University policies or practices may result in disciplinary action being taken.