Human Resource Blog

Where HR Professionals Seek Answers

A Practical Source For Your Daily HR Needs.Lets Build An HR Blog Community Together! Want To Share Your HR Knowledge Or Gain Knowledge Through Other Professionals?Lets Discuss HR!


Fitness for duty certification

We have been using the Certification of Health Care Provider form WH-380-E to serve as our Fitness for duty certification to send to the Doctor after someone is ready to Return to Work during their FMLA absence. This is confusing the Doctors, because the form only addresses why someone is requesting leave. Is their another form we should be using, or could we make up our own? This is in response to the new FMLA guidelines that allows us to ask for more than a simple statement, that an employee can return to work.

You have pinpointed a problem with the U.S. Department of Labors current FMLA forms. While employers are permitted to get specific information on the employees fitness for duty upon return to work, there is no form that is provided for it.

You are right that the WH- 380 is primarily for certificaiton of a serious health condition. It is probably not appropriate to provide the doctor with this form as a release for duty. You certainly can devise your own fitness for duty form.

From a liability point of view, you may be better off if the doctor simply provides a blanket form stating that the employee is fit to perform all job duties. Getting a more specific release may actually increase your liability if the employee is re-injured. Creating your own form may increase that liability still more.

Suppose that Jane has been off work with a back injury, or a heart attack. Her doctor provides a blanket release that she can resume all her job duties. If Jane is re-injured, the employer has little or no liability — they are covered by the doctors release. However, suppose Janes employer provides a form that lists her job activities, including lifting weights over 25 lbs. and walking up to 2 miles per day. The doctor signs off on this list. However, Janes job also requires that she twists and bends regularly. But, the employer did not think to list that activity on the form. Jane suffers a relapse, and her doctor determines it is due to the twisting and bending. The employer might well be liable under these circumstances, because their form neglected to address this issue.

If you feel you must devise a form for a return to duty, our advice would be for it to simply have two check boxes. One box would be for *released to return to work, able to perform all duties with no restrictions*. The second box would be *released to return to work the following restrictions*. Supply blank lines for the doctor to list any and all restrictions. This way, if a particular restriction is not listed, it is the doctors liability, and not yours. (Of course you would have the employees name at the top and the doctors signature at the bottom.)

Tags: , , , ,

This entry was posted on Friday, May 1st, 2009 at 9:24 am and is filed under
Attendance Management.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 Responses to “Fitness for duty certification”

  1. Juan Cremers Says:

    very good insight, I really enjoyed reading this, keep it up!

  2. Billy Thompsom Says:

    Will be back soon, lovely post, thanks again have bookmarked you!

  3. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading the blog, Billy!~ Caitlin

  4. olympic weight bench Says:

    Hey there, really nicetheme you have. Is it free?

  5. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading, Olympic!~ Caitlin

  6. Gregory Despain Says:

    I found this blog on social bookmarking site. I liked it and gave you a fave! By the way I also really like your blog theme! Did you create it yourself or can I download it from somehwere?

  7. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for your input, Gregory!~ Caitlin

  8. Roger Holmes Says:

    great post!! keep them coming! Very helpful A good post for reference. Thanks for sharing

  9. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading, Roger!~ Caitlin

  10. Ricky Lei Says:

    Sometimes I think all this aerobic stuff can actually be bad for you. It puts such a strain on the body. I am not sure what I think about all this exercise craze yet.

  11. Guy Cushen Says:

    That being said, it is easy to carry, holds the mat, and looks quite lovely while doing so.

  12. Caitlin Says:

    Good point, Ricky! Thanks for reading!~ Caitlin

  13. Caitlin Says:

    Um, thanks for reading, Guy!~ Caitlin

  14. Peggy Misemer Says:

    Will be back soon, lovely post, thanks again have bookmarked you!

  15. Caitlin Says:

    You are very welcome, Peggy! Check back often– we are constantly posting new info!~ Caitlin

  16. natural cures for bacterial vaginosis Says:

    someone on facebook told me about your site. Great post. just wanted to comment and say hey

  17. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading the blogs, natural!~ Caitlin

  18. how to cure hemorrhoids Says:

    found your site on yahoo. great site.

  19. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading, how to!~ Caitlin

  20. tommy Says:

    Just wanted to say I enjoyed the site. You have really put a lot of time into your content and it is just wonderfull!

  21. Caitlin Says:

    Check back often, tommy! We post 5 days per week!~ Caitlin

  22. Jason Says:

    Good post. I found this site via my friends facebook page. Bookmard it now :) cheers J

  23. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for the kinds words, Jason!~ Caitlin

  24. allan Says:

    sounds to me like a bunch of useless HR reps who care more about saving their own ass rather then care about the privacy of the employee

  25. Caitlin Says:

    Hi allan! Well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. But we do not see how a fitness for duty release is a violation of the employees privacy. The doctor merely provides a statement that the employee is — or is not– healthy enough to return to work, performing his usual duties. There is no requirement for the doctor to release information on the employees diagnosis.

    Otherwise, the employer would be in an impossible position. They would have to return the employee to work because he said he was healthy, but would be liable for any injuries he caused himself or others, if he was lying. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

Leave a Reply

  • [ Back ]
  • WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

Home Ask a Question Archives

© 2008, All Rights Reserved