Forced To Get A Fitness for Duty Evaluation

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about reporting harassment and bullying:

I filed a complaint with Human Resources about harassment and bullying by my coworkers. My complaint was flipped on me and the investigation was not handled appropriately, so I continue to be harassed. This has being going on for three years.

I filed a complaint with the EEOC and a week later Human Resources sent me to a Fitness for Duty evaluation! I have no physical or mental disability and I’m not disruptive at work or a threat at work. My coworkers are the ones who are disruptive! It all started with one co-worker who has a personal issue with me and she encouraged others to treat me the same.

They are trying to force me to quit or get fired, but for some reason I was the only one who had to get a Fitness for Duty evaluation. I’m a counselor and I’m always on time with my paperwork. I do my job well but my co-workers struggle with their work–so why did I have to go to a Fitness for Duty evaluation?

Signed, Fit But Frustrated

DearĀ Fit But Frustrated:

It sounds as though the situation at your work has reached an extreme point. You have your perspective and your supervisor or manager and others have their viewpoints. It may be there is no way to resolve this to the point that work will be able to return to an acceptable environment for you and others.

However, you say you are an excellent counselor, so it would seem you would have the knowledge and skill to work on your own or with others to find some resolution to the problems. Please consider identifying a counselor within your network, but outside your own work, who might be able to help you develop a plan of action for responding to this extremely contentious situation.One thing is for sure:

When a problem is seen as so severe that a Fitness for Duty evaluation is requested, there is usually a lot of documentation to justify the cost and the negative reactions that are bound to result. Whether you agree with those or not, in some way it is likely you contributed to them purposely or inadvertently.Rather than focus on why the others are not being dealt with, I think your focus should be on how you can get out of this negative spiral of problems at work. You are going to need to consistently and continuously show your excellent work, your communication skills and your ability to deal with this conflict. If you can do that, perhaps you can come out of this stronger than ever and with a better reputation than the others have.You mentioned that you filed a complaint with EEOC, however it doesn’t appear there is any aspect of your situation that is involved with gender, race or other protected-status issues. If it is, perhaps you should consult an attorney and ask for a free consultation to determine if you have a legal or civil case.

You did not say what was the result of the Fitness for Duty Evaluation, if you have already completed that evaluation. If you completed it and still have a job you apparently were shown to be fit for duty. If you still have not done it, maybe you should consider that a way to show others that you are not the source (or at least not the only source) of the problem.I wish there was a miracle cure for your situation, but I don’t think there is. You may need to accept that you are not going to be successful there and quit to allow yourself to thrive somewhere else.If you choose to stay, consider asking your manager or supervisor for an extended problem-solving session. Review your performance evaluations ahead of time to see what has been said about your work in the past. Write a list of the proof you have to show the harassment you feel has taken place. But also, be prepared to hear the negative things that have been documented about you.

At some point that will come out and it will be frustrating and hurtful. Best wishes with this very difficult situation. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens. You certainly need someone local who can examine the entire situation, to work with you to find a good resolution. I hope you will get that assistance immediately.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.