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These medical exams are performed on a non-discriminatory basis and are intended to set a minimum level of fitness and to prevent further injury by means of aggravating a pre-existing medical condition.
The Americans with Disabilities Act imposes restrictions on medical examinations and inquiries. Many state statutes also limit such inquiries. Under the ADA, employers cannot inquiry as to whether an individual has a disability at the pre-offer stage of the selection process. Thus, while an employer is permitted to make pre-employment inquiries into the ability of an applicant to perform job-related functions, the inquiry must be narrowly tailored and appropriately phrased. Employers must review carefully the ADA and its regulations (and other applicable state and local laws and regulations) regarding pre-employment medical inquires before asking any such questions.
Likewise, if required, medical examinations should be conducted at the post-offer stage. An employer may condition an employment offer on the results of a medical examination, provided that all entering employees in the same job category are subjected to such an examination. Again, however, other requirements apply and an employer must consult the ADA, its regulations and all other applicable laws and regulations before conducting such examinations.
Employers may also conduct medical examinations of employees in certain circumstances, including when there is a need to determine whether an employee is still able to perform the essential functions of his or her job. However, employers should consult the EEOC’s regulations on reasonable accommodation, which may limit an employer’s ability to conduct an employee medical exam, particularly when the employee can provide the necessary information directly or from his or her own doctor.