determining ?accomodation?

Situation: Long term employee has medical condition for which doc has prescribed medicine that allegedly makes employee sleepy (the employee takes the medicine as his shift ends, so he's not sleeping on the job). Employee provided "letter" (unsigned) from doctor that repeats only what employee told doctor, and requests on behalf of employee to be removed from on-call duty. Doctor does not state that the medicine commonly induces sleepiness (or any other side effect), and does not certify that employee cannot perform on-call work.

We don't want to term this ee. Can I contact the doctor directly to have him certify a condition that needs accommodation, or should I provide the employee a "Fitness for Duty" form to give the doc? The employee doesn't abuse leave (nor is usage excessive), and he has not officially requested accommodation or protection under ADA or FMLA. The condition could be disabling, but is not currently (except during medicine doses), and the condition *may* qualify under several sections of FMLA, but that Act only protects absences...

So I'm trying to figure out how to proceed. Employee apparently doesn't want to request a different medicine, as this is the first one in four or five attempts that actually works (he says). So I'm left with excusing him from on-call duty for our own liability's sake until we can reach some accommodation.



  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • If this medical condition is going to be a long term situation you may be dealing with this issue for the remainder of this EEs tenure with you.

    If the on-call nature of the position is necessary, you may not be able to make the accomodation the EE is requesting. That is a decision the company must confront in this situation.

    I think it is time to go the fitness for duty route and let this thing play out. If it truly is an ADA situation, then so be it.
  • These situations are difficult. I suggest requesting "clarification" from the physician. Send either fitness for duty or FMLA/DOL form with copy of job description including on-call. (Is on-call an essential function of the job?) Then request SIGNED response/form. I would lean away from any ADA references like "accommodation" or "disability" until the employee or physician bring them up. Even with the eventually disabling medical condition you alluded to, don't go there/address that until they do.
  • You could require a second opinion.
  • We are going the second opinion route with our "company" doctor. Also found out that the meds that make him sleepy don't directly treat his medical condition, it treats a side effect, or a completely separate condition. Supervisor states this ee has a history of trying to get out of the on-call work, and this is just the latest. We'll see what our doc has to say tomorrow.

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