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An employer that does not recognize fundamental needs within an organization likely guarantees eventual negative consequences—especially when failing to properly deal with employees who display a noticeable impairment or behavior threatening to the work environment. 

Fitness for Duty and Risk Assessment evaluations sometimes prove to be necessary measures for employers when faced with a questionable or potentially dangerous employee/workplace situation. We respond immediately to provide assessments that work with your schedule. The focus of Fitness for Duty/Risk Assessment evaluations is to help foster a highly productive work environment that maximizes individual and group productivity while maintaining a safe environment in which to do so. Maintaining a safe and functional working environment is critical to the vitality and longevity of your organization. 

However, it is first important to understand the difference between a Fitness for Duty evaluation and a Risk Assessment evaluation:

Fitness for Duty— Assessment of competency—Does the employee have the capacity to effectively perform essential job functions?

Risk Assessment—Assessment of safety [in addition to competency]—is there an overt or covert threat to the workplace, to a group or an individual?

Now that you know the difference, how do you know if your business needs a Fitness for Duty or Risk Assessment evaluation? Ask yourself:

Has an employee or department had a noticeable change in behavior or performance—not meeting well-defined goals or has had a dramatic change off the standard baseline?

Does this change correlate with a specific event or date? Can you anchor this to a specific time or event that produces a trigger toward action?

Are you concerned that the change in behavior or functioning may prevent the employee or department from performing their essential job functions/duties? Does the change in behavior or functioning put the employee or other employees at risk?

We ask questions like, "Is there an identifiable emotional or cognitive/intellectual problem that can adversely affect work performance in the individual?" 

We answer this by examining functional abilities and capacities. We help define if there is an issue and then we identify the most appropriate option to deal with the problem. 

The ultimate goal of these assessments is to help you maintain a workforce that can safely and effectively perform essential job functions. We believe that you cannot necessarily associate a mental or physical disorder with an impairment. That is why we come to you as a partner. After intense study, we relay relevant data in a way that is applicable to your unique needs. We associate our findings with the individual’s capacity or ability to perform his/her job efficiently. Similar to all other Clayman & Associate product lines, the aim is not primarily to provide a diagnosis (unless totally warranted) but instead, to offer objective data about the employee’s ability to perform his/her job. 

After completion, we recommend appropriate actions that should be taken based upon the evaluation. We provide options available to you, the employer, based on the facts. Generally speaking, these options may include:

  • They do not have a problem—there could be a potential management or workplace issue.

  • They do have a problem and need treatment, possibly with short-term disability required.

  • They do have a problem and could most likely work in an accommodated work setting.

  • They have an issue so complex, occurring frequently, presenting a difficult challenge, and lasting so long that they must seek intensive treatment.


Overall, we complete these assessments with awareness of and adherence to relevant state and federal laws. Typically, Clayman & Associates works directly with owners/officers of the company, human resources, staff or lawyers working on behalf of the company to initiate such evaluations. We also work with referral sources to understand the exact questions they have about each situation so that we can tailor our assessment to provide data-driven, objective answers that address each specific case. 

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