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  • Dr. Steiner

Fitness for Duty


FFDE is “a formal, specialized examination of an incumbent employee that results from (1) objective evidence that the employee may be unable to safely or effectively perform a defined job; and (2) a reasonable basis for believing that the cause may be attributable to a psychological condition or impairment. The central purpose of an FFDE is to determine whether the employee is able to safely and effectively perform his or her essential job functions

ADA demands that Department has an objective reason to believe that the employee may have a medical (that is, psychological) condition that would impair job functioning or pose a direct threat to self or others.

Officers who become emotionally distressed or manifest other symptoms or behaviors attributable to a psychological condition or impairment can present a danger to themselves or to others or may be rendered ineffective in performing their essential work functions because of their problems

Officer’s behavior raises concern that the officer may be unstable, a physical danger to self and to others, or ineffective in discharging responsibilities. Such behavior may occur on or off duty and may include excessive force, domestic violence, lack of alertness, substance abuse, or other observable counterproductive behaviors. So-called red flags also may include threats to self or others, suicide attempts, psychiatric hospitalizations, or observed symptoms (for example, frequent crying, uncharacteristic irritability, and excessive suspiciousness) that may be due to psychological problems such as depression or anxiety or other psychological conditions or impairments. When such behavior occurs, and it is reasonably suspected to be attributable, at least in part, to an underlying psychological impairment or condition, a fitness-for-duty evaluation (FFDE) is often necessary to assess the nature of the psychological problem and its impact on job functioning.

When conducting a FFDE. The following should occur:

  • Pre-referral or consultation with qualified evaluator to assess the

  • Written request by the agency documenting the concerns

  • Full explanations of the FFDE process given to the officer concerning their rights to demonstrate respect, objectivity, fair treatment, and disclosure consistent with psychologists’ ethical standards

  • Gather and Collect collateral information

  • Interview

  • Specified tests to assess job functionality

  • Report & recommendations


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