(1) Employers may seek a health care professional's opinion on whether a person's disability affects the proper performance of a particular job. The employer may also seek a health care professional's opinion on possible effective accommodations that would enable the person with a disability to properly perform the job. The health care professional's opinion will be given due weight in view of all the circumstances, including the extent of the health care professional's knowledge of the particular person and job, and the health care professional's relationship to the parties.
(2) A health care professional's conclusion will not be considered to be an opinion on whether the person can properly perform the particular job unless it:
(a) Is based on the individual capabilities of the particular person, and not on generalizations as to the capabilities of all persons with the same disability; and
(b) Is based on knowledge of the actual sensory, mental, and physical qualifications needed for proper performance of the particular job.
(3) Employers are advised to provide the health care professional with the necessary information about the particular job and to inform the health care professional of the need for an individualized opinion.
(4) Employee health care information shall be kept in a confidential manner, separate from the employee's regular personnel files. The employer may share health care information only on a need to know basis. Supervisors and/or safety personnel may be informed of employee needs only if necessary to make appropriate work assignments or develop appropriate emergency response plans.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 49.60.120(3). 99-15-025, § 162-22-090, filed 7/12/99, effective 8/12/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 49.60.120(3) and 1997 c 271. 98-08-035, § 162-22-090, filed 3/23/98, effective 4/23/98; Order 23, § 162-22-090, filed 7/21/75.]