Forensic assessment for high risk occupations

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employer liability, fitness for duty, law enforcement personnel, legal issues, personnel selection, police psychology, public safety personnel


Psychologists are frequently asked to assess the psychological suitability of candidates and incumbent employees for law enforcement positions and other “high-risk” occupations. This chapter begins with a review of significant ethical issues that emerge in conducting high-risk occupational assessments generally, including Professional Competence, Role Definition, and Confidentiality and Access to Results. The sections that follow provide a more specific focus on legal and practice issues in pre-employment psychological screening and fitness-for-duty evaluations. There is a discussion of federal statutes and case law that pertain to these evaluations, and an overview of practice guidelines that have been developed and endorsed by organized groups of public safety psychologists. Practical guidance and research-based information is provided on issues related to obtaining consent, procedures and methods for conducting the assessment, and crafting an ultimate analysis regarding the examinee's psychological suitability for the position.