An Employers’ Quick Guide to Assessments

Learn How Integra Helps Employers Through Difficult Employment Issues

Do You Even Need an Employee Assessment?

How do you know if you need an employee assessment? 1 in 4 of your employees will experience a health event (i.e. an injury or illness) that potentially can take them out of the workplace.  This is not only disruptive to your business but there is real and significant harm that can happen to your employee due to long term worklessness.  When faced with an employee’s medical issue it can be challenging for employers to find the support they need or even know what to do to support their employees in the best way they can.  Despite wanting to be sensitive and accommodating to the needs of their employees, many employers can find it difficult to know exactly what is required of them in certain circumstances. If an employee requires a fitness to work or medical assessment, or they have requested a work from home accommodation for health reasons, many employers are unsure how to proceed.

At Integra, we deal with these challenges every day and often see the same types of challenges across employers and industries.  However, for an employer, the process can be unfamiliar, complicated, and the outcome uncertain which makes finding the right solution hard to determine.  We are here to help!

Integra offers free consultations to employers who are facing these challenges. To get the most out of a consultation, here are some simple steps to get started on the path to a good outcome. 

Step 1: Outline the general situation and the reason an employee might need an assessment in the first place.

– Tell us a little bit about the situation.  We don’t need to know every detail, but a brief summary is helpful.

– Why are you requesting an assessment? What information are you looking to gather?  What is the outcome are you seeking?

Step 2: Collect some details about the employee and their role.

a. What is the employee’s occupation? 

b. Do you have a job description or job demands analysis for their position?

c. Is the job safety critical or safety sensitive? (For example, if a mistake is made, is there risk to the employee or to others?)

d. Is there any other type of risk to the employer or employee?

e. Is the employee aware of the referral and prepared to provide consent to participate? (See Tips on how to gain participation from your employee.)

f. Where is the employee located?

Step 3:  Be clear on what your expectations are of Integra and the Medical Assessor. 

– Do you want Integra to secure copies of the employee’s medical file from the family physician as part of the assessment/review process?

– Will you receive a fitness to work report (limited information focused on functional restrictions and limitations) or a full medical disclosure report (typically sent only to healthcare professionals on an HR team.)

Step 4: Contact Erica or Alexa at Integra. 

We will help you determine if and what type of an assessment is appropriate or necessary. If an assessment is appropriate and/or necessary, Integra will handle all the details, including making sure the paperwork is completed and ends up where it needs to go.

Struggling with an Accommodation request for Work from Home?

Employers can sometimes be faced with a request for an accommodation for working from home.  If you are unsure of how to proceed when an employee requests a temporary or permanent work from home accommodation for medical reasons, the first step is to get in touch with the employee’s treating doctor.

The treating doctor is the usually the best person to start with to help understand the accommodation request. 

Here is a sample letter to send to the treating doctor that can be tailored to your needs. 

Dear. Dr. XXX

As (EMPLOYEE’S) long-standing employer, (EMPLOYER) has temporarily accommodated (EMPLOYEE) in a work from home capacity for the past (DURATION).  We have received x medical notes from your office in the past 12 months.  

1. Is there any medical risk of harm or safety concern that would prevent your patient, (EMPLOYEE) from returning to their workplace/environment?

Yes ___________          No _____________

If yes, please explain.

2. Are there any specific activities or environmental issues that present a risk of harm or safety concern if (EMPLOYEE) that would prevent them from returning to the workplace.  What we are asking is whether there are any restriction — a restriction is an activity that, if engaged in by the worker, will cause harm to the worker or to another person in the workplace.

Yes ___________          No ___________

If yes, please explain:

If yes, to the best of your ability would you consider these restrictions temporary or permanent? If temporary, what is the timeline?

3. Has the employee undertaken appropriate treatments for his health conditions?  A yes or no response suffices:

a. Physical?

b. Mental?

4. We have the following COVID precautions in place. Are these sufficient to allow for any COVID risk related accommodations to be unnecessary? 






5. Do you recommend any other COVID precautions to permit the employee to safely return to the workplace?

6. Is there any other information not identified above that you believe we ought to know to help facilitate a safe return to the workplace for this employee?

Returning your employees back to work can be challenging and often complex.  These steps and starting parts are to help you get on the path to a good outcome.  If you find yourself stuck or not sure what to do next, we are here to help.  Call us and Integra staff will work with you to help you decide the path forward.  If that path is an assessment, Integra will help you find the best medical professional to meet your, and your employee’s, needs.

Let us know if you need help securing copies of employee medical files from their family physician as part of the assessment review process.

We have over 25 years of knowledge, experience, and insight,  and Integra is ready to provide objective advice, assessment, and support to facilitate the best outcome for all stakeholders.

Call us at 604.259.3141, we’d love to help you find a clear path forward.