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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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If an employee is covered under the ADA for PTSD and his manager

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If an employee is covered under the ADA for PTSD and his manager advises HR that the employee made a threat of violence with no witnesses. When the employee was question by HR the employee denied that he said it. The manager who made the allegation was complained on by the same employee 6 weeks earlier for harassing/ taunting that employee. My question is: Does the employer have the right to send the employee to a fit for duty exam and request that the employee release his mental health records to the company’s doctor.
Yes, for complaints of alleged threats of violence the employer does indeed have a right to order a fit for duty exam. In fact, just because the employee is covered under the ADA for PTSD does not say anything as to why the manager is making this accusation and in order for it to be a violation of the ADA the employee must prove that the ONLY reason the manager made this allegation was based on his PTSD. If there is an allegation of threats, the employer can indeed seek the mental health records and request an examination to determine if the employee is safe to have in the workplace.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The manager advised that the employee stated that he did not want to hurt someone. There was no direct threat towards anyone.
That is sufficient in most workplaces today with them being scared for the safety of the employees based on all of the incidents of workplace violence that have occurred throughout the country.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So if the employee submits tot the fit for duty exam and releases the health records and the employer hires a doctor to say the employee is not fit for duty then the employer could fire the employee. Is that correct?
If the employer's doctor claims the employee is not fit for duty, then they can fire the employee or possibly make them take a disability pension if one exists and then the employee would have to sue their own medical expert to fight the matter.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The employee did file an EEOC charge. Does that matter? What should the employee do to cover himself in this matter.
If you can prove this is being done ONLY because you filed the EEOC charge, then you could claim retaliation. If the employee is fit and not a danger to anyone, the employee doesn't really need to do anything to "cover himself" because he is not a danger to the workplace and the employee should refrain from making any comments in the workplace that could be remotely construed as threatening. Get with your doctor make sure your records are in order and let him know what is going on and get him to write an opinion into your medical records.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The employees doctor does not think the employee is a threat to himself or others. This situation all started when the employer did not accomadate the employee. The empolyees doctor requested the employer to allow the employee to telecommute and work from home.
If the doctor does not think the employee is a threat then this needs to be in the employee's medical files. The treating doctor is generally relied upon more because they have more experience with the patient. The employer does not have to accommodate an employee by allowing them to telecommute as long as the employer provides some type of accommodation that is reasonable to allow the employee to do their job.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So if the employees doctor said he is fit for duty and the employers doctor said the emplyee is not fit for duty. Then what could be the outcome.
Then you have grounds for a lawsuit if the employer takes action against you based on their doctor's opinion over your doctor.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

So if the employee takes the fit for duty exam and passes it and returns to work. What happens to the EEOC charge.

The EEOC charge has nothing to do with the fitness for duty claim, since the EEOC charge has to prove it was done only because of your disability.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you....
You are welcome. Please do not forget to click Accept to release your deposit.
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