Before or during your employment you may be subject to a company paid medical examination, or other related medical inquiries, as circumstances warrant. Thus, for example, a class of candidates for the same department may all be required to pass a drug test or physical. In addition, following an injury or illness, the Company may request a medical examination to determine whether you can perform the essential functions of your job, with or without an accommodation.
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.
Commentary (if any): Medical examinations raise a host of legal concerns. Employers should give careful consideration when deciding to conduct such examinations. There should be an identifiable, legitimate business interest in conducting medical examinations before an employer adopts such a policy.
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.
WARNING: Do NOT simply adopt a policy or add it to your handbook or manual without consulting with a qualified HR professional or employment lawyer. A sample policy may not be proper or even lawful in your particular situation. You’ve been warned.