Q. I’m confused about when we can require physical exams or treatment. We now make employees undergo a fitness-for-duty exam when we think there is a physical or psychological reason that impairs the employee’s ability to perform the job. We also use last-chance agreements requiring medical treatment for an employee to earn reinstatement after a discharge, such as for alcohol or drug abuse. Are we courting trouble? — D.J., Michigan
A. It appears that your company is acting legally. Under the ADA, if employees suffer from conditions that create a direct safety threat to themselves or others, you can require such employees to provide certification from a doctor indicating that they can perform their jobs safely.
Also, under the ADA, you can choose to include a provision in your substance-abuse policy that requires completion of a treatment program as a condition of returning to work following a substance-related, long-term suspension or discharge.