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Total Articles: 12

Court Labels Employer Post-Offer Medical Examination “Textbook Case” of ADA Regarded As Liability

When used lawfully, post-offer, pre-employment medical examinations can be a powerful tool. But a recent federal district court case demonstrates the importance of carefully implementing such programs.

The Eighth Circuit & the ADA, Part I: Court Tips the Scale in Employer’s Favor in Suit Challenging Sleep Test for Overweight Workers

In Parker v. Crete Carrier Corporation, et al, No. 16-1371 (October 12, 2016), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a trucking company complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in requiring its drivers with body mass indexes (BMI) of 35 or above to undergo in-lab sleep studies to determine if they had sleep apnea, which could cause them to fall asleep at the wheel.

Employers Better Sober Up: The EEOC Is Targeting Prescription Drug Testing Policies

While prescription drug use and abuse pose serious concerns for the health and safety of workplaces, two recent cases filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suggest that employers need to be very cautious about how they deal with such issues.

Eighth Circuit Upholds Trucking Company's Sleep Study Requirement Based on Driver BMI

On October 12, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit found in favor of a large transportation employer’s driver sleep study testing requirement in a lawsuit challenging the practice under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiff driver in Parker v. Crete Carrier Corporation alleged that his employer violated the ADA by adopting a program requiring a class of its truck drivers, which included him, to undergo in-lab sleep studies.1 After medical advisory recommendations made to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) linked obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to an increased risk of vehicle crashes, the employer implemented the sleep study requirement using driver Body Mass Index (BMI) as the sole criteria for participation.

Should Employers "Get Physicial"?

Many employers require that applicants pass a pre-employment medical exam to ensure they are physically capable of doing the job. Employers should be aware that pre-employment medical exams, while not categorically barred, could violate several federal statutes and draw unwanted attention from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or the Commission).

EEOC issues discussion points on permissible uses of "integrity testing."

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), “integrity testing” is a “specific type of personality test designed to assess an applicant's tendency to be honest, trustworthy, and dependable.” Employers often associate a lack of integrity with counterproductive workplace behaviors, including theft and workplace violence.

Are Your Inquiries into Justification for Sick Leave Legal?

If you’ve seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off you know that just because someone calls in sick does not mean he or she actually is ill. Employers often demand documentation to justify absences due to sickness, but asking for too much information can be unlawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and some state laws.

Counseling May Be a “Medical Examination” Under the ADA

Whether psychological counseling is a “medical examination” under the Americans with Disabilities Act is an important question recently addressed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. This question is important because the ADA prohibits employers from requiring employees to undergo medical examinations unless they are “job related” and consistent with “business necessity.” In this case, the Court concluded by a split vote that the required counseling was a medical examination.

Employer's request for psychological counseling as criteria to continued employment is viewed as a "medical examination" under the ADA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from requiring a “medical examination” and from making inquiries about the nature or severity of an employee’s possible disability, unless such exam or inquiry is shown to be “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” Most employers understand this issue as it applies both to medical examinations of current employees and to post-offer pre-employment physicals. Many of those same employers, however, may not have considered the ADA ramifications of asking an obviously distressed employee from seeking mental health counseling.

Fitness-For-Duty Exam Can Be Based On Concern About Employee’s “Volatile” Behavior.

The Americans with Disabilities Act allows an employer to require an employee to undergo a Fitness For Duty Examination (FFDE) when health problems have had a substantial or injurious impact on an employee’s job performance. Such examination must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held – as an issue of first impression for that Court - that an employer also can require an employee to undergo such exam as a “preemptive” measure against potential dangerous or harmful conduct, especially when the employee is engaged in dangerous work.

Fitness-for-duty exam can be based on concern about employee's "volatile" behavior.

The Americans with Disabilities Act allows an employer to require an employee to undergo a Fitness For Duty Examination (FFDE) when health problems have had a substantial or injurious impact on an employee’s job performance. Such examination must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held – as an issue of first impression for that Court - that an employer also can require an employee to undergo such exam as a “preemptive” measure against potential dangerous or harmful conduct, especially when the employee is engaged in dangerous work.

Inconsistent administration of physical ability test can create a triable question of intentional discrimination.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of an employer who required a female employee to take a physical ability test after an on-the-job injury, even though it did not require such a test for similarly situated male employees.