Requesting a psych evaluation on existing ee

Is there anything that would prohibit us from requesting that a law enforcement employee submit to a psychiatric examination? The employee has had some 'meltdown' episodes recently, and the supervisor is asking HR whether they can send said employee for a (psychiatric) fitness-for-duty type of examination. They want to utilize the same psychiatrist we use for pre-employment screening. The employee is not on any type of leave, although he was sent home for a couple of days rest (paid) after the most recent episode.

There is nothing in our written policy that addresses this. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks~


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  • Just thinking out loud here. Is there anything in your job description that would cover mental fitness for duty? Has the employee been treated by a physician for any kind of stress, mental instability, etc? I know an employer can designate absences as FMLA and under FMLA can get a second opinion, but I don't know about an initial diagnosis. David, Sonny, have you guys had any experience with this type of situation?
  • Do you have an EAP? We have required an employee to visit with our EAP and follow their recommendations or be terminated. I called the EAP first and described our situation. The employee met with them, and then was required to follow a short treatment regimen.
  • We have. EAP is a possibilty. We also did a FFD related to mental health. The officer had had priors and we did end up terminating. We have also done on non LE for physical problems. Questions pretty much the same whether physical or mental. Be sure to check your CBA if you have one.
  • We have sent police and fire employees for psychological fitness for duty evaluations when they have exhibited behavior which provides us reason to do so. Although you didn't provide specifics, a "meltdown" is probably sufficient cause (especially if the employee carries a firearm). We also use the same psychologist that we use for pre-employment evaluations as he knows the requirements of the jobs. If you have a union, I would involve them early on, but we don't negotiate the evaluation. We do believe it is our right to give the employee a direct order to attend a fitness for duty evaluation.