Published Date: 06/16/2014
By Pat Rountree
When you require an employee to provide medical documentation that they can perform the job, are you ensuring that the doctor knows what the employee’s job entails? Under ADA, you may make medical inquiries or require medical exams of an employee if you need medical documentation to support an employee’s request for an accommodation or if you believe that an employee is not able to perform a job successfully or safely because of a medical condition.
When this situation arises, it is recommended that you send a letter with the employee when they go to their appointment. The letter should be addressed to the doctor. It can just be addressed – To: Treating Physician for (Employee Name). The letter should include the reason you are sending the employee (i.e., what functions they are having problems performing, what they are saying they cannot do and need accommodation for, or what direct safety threat you perceive).
The letter can also say that you are attaching a job description for review by the physician. Add an acknowledgement at the end of the letter for the doctor to sign that she or he reviewed the job description and to note if there are restrictions, and if so to note what they are and the expected duration.
[Note: If the employee has requested FMLA as an accommodation and is eligible, you should also include the FMLA certification form.]
You may assume that the job description you send is reviewed by the physician, but the employee may forget to take it or choose not to take it if they don’t want to be written out of work and lose income.
Be proactive in providing the physician with complete information so an accurate assessment can be made based on all the facts.
If you have questions about the ADA or medical assessments, please contact a member of CAI's Advice & Resolution Team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.