My company has an employee that will often cite undocumented health concerns as the reason that he can't do a task he has been asked to perform. There is a language barrier but he can communicate with his supervisor enough to get by. For example - last week he was asked to use a jackhammer and said he couldn't after pointing to his heart. The following day the employee was absent to see the "heart doctor". If there is an illness that isn't visible that is being used as the reason for him to not do what he is asked to can we require a physician's note and/or send him to our work comp physician for them to draft any work restrictions?
I think you're well into ADA and reasonable accomodation territory here, not to mention potential liabiility.
ADA is something that should be requested by the employee, but in this particular case given the language difficulties that may be difficult. Were I in your place, I would meet with the employee and his supervisor to discuss the extent of the issue and whether or not he can safely perform the job. If the employee does indicate a heart condition, which he apparently has done even if somewhat visually, then I think you could safely ask for documentation from a physician attesting to what he an and can not do.
You may wish to consult with your liability insurance carrier on this one as well. Now that you know of the condition, if you allow or order this employee to perform work that may not be safe for him and he has a heart attack as a result, you may well be on the receiving end of a lawsuit - and a very costly one at that. Frankly, I would seriously consider not having this person work at all unless and until you have a note from a physician giving him a release to work
For the most part I agree with Nork. I don't agree that an employee must specifically request an accommodation. Even then, this one has made it clear their are health issues that may require an accommodation or a denial by you. I would follow the process Nork outlined.