Thursday, February 25, 2016

Floor Moving on Work Capacity Test

The Work Capacity Test has been in its current form as a Letter of Agreement (supplement to the body of our Contract) since at least the 2013-2015 Contract and is a LOA in our 2015-2019 Contact.  There were no additions or subtractions to the wording during the last Contract negotiation period.  However due to an opinion of the Department of Justice an interpretation of the LOA has changed in Section 5. Medical Certification (b).

The language reads: A medical certification from a licensed physician attesting to the employee’s ability to safely perform arduous, moderate or light level fire duties with restrictions may be substituted for passing the equivalent level of the WCT.  Such medical certification cannot be substituted when an employee has failed any WCT in that calendar year. (underline added)

The Department of Justice is now recognizing that the “with restrictions” portion of the language does restrict the fire duties one could perform and puts the Department into the position of determining if that restriction can be “reasonably accommodated” under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Depending on the restriction placed by the licensed physician there is a possibility that the fire fighters duties could not be accommodated.

The change is previously the “with restrictions” wording of the medical certification was largely ignored and that with a medical certification it was assumed that one could fully perform at their designated fitness level.  This is no longer the case.  The only way to be fully qualified for your fire position, without restrictions, is to take and pass the WCT at the appropriate fitness level.

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