mental exam

Inside the Law: Requiring a Mental Exam

June 21, 2018 - 3:00 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Can your employer force you to get a mental health exam? 

The Bergen County, New Jersey's prosecutor's office just paid a former employee $625,000 to settle a claim that it had illegally had her committed to a psych ward. 

According to the lawsuit, the former employee was living with the ex-husband of another worker in the office, and because the prosecutor was friends with the ex-wife, he had the former employee involuntarily committed. 

That's insane. 

But there are times when managers wonder about the mental health of employees. Is it ever legal to send an employee to get a psychiatric evaluation? 

In some cases, yes. 

According to the EEOC, an employer doesn't violate the law by seeking a mental exam for an employee where the employer has a reasonable belief based on objective evidence that an employee's ability to perform essential job functions is impaired by a medical condition, or the employee will pose a threat due to a medical condition. 

It's not something to which an employer should resort lightly, and certainly if you're doing it to pick sides in a romantic battle, you should, go ahead and say it, get your head examined.