Does a team member on mood medication need a doctor's note?

Does a team member on mood medication need a doctor's note?

Jun 01, 2008

Q: If an employee tells me he's taking medication for anxiety and depression, am I allowed to request a note from the prescribing physician stating that this employee is able to perform his duties?

Yes, you can ask for that note, says Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Longview, Wash. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) will require you to make "reasonable accommodations" for this employee to limit his job requirements or work schedule or to provide him with some other aid that allows him to perform his job.

The employee's revelation is also a reminder for you to ask those big questions from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). If a person will be working with controlled substances, you should already be asking about crime and drug use: Within the past five years, have you been convicted of a felony, or within the past two years, of any misdemeanor, or are you presently formally charged with committing a criminal offense? And in the past three years, have you ever knowingly used any narcotics, amphetamines, or barbiturates other than those prescribed to you by a physician?

You're responsible for this particular employee's well-being at work as well as the safety of other staff. You're also responsible for the veterinarians who are licensed with the DEA and need to be accountable for controlled substances. "Don't forget that the DEA provides for employee screening and testing, even in the interview process," Salzsieder says.

Visit Related Links below for a refresher on DEA law relating to hiring.