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Requiring Employee Medical Examinations
When can an employer ask an employee to undergo a medical examination?

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA") limits an employer's ability to make disability-related inquiries or require medical examinations during employment unless they are "job-related and consistent with business necessity." The EEOC issued enforcement guidance on disability-related inquiries and medical examinations of employees under the ADA. This guidance explains the ADA’s rules concerning when employers may and may not obtain medical information about their employees.

A "medical examination" is a procedure or test that seeks information about an individual's physical or mental impairments or health. Medical examinations include vision tests; blood, urine, and breath analyses; blood pressure screening and cholesterol testing; and diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays, CAT scans and MRIs.

Generally, an employer only may seek information about an employee's medical condition when it is job related and consistent with business necessity. This means that the employer must have a reasonable belief based on objective evidence that:
• An employee's ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition; or
• An employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.

Employers also may obtain medical information about an employee when the employee has requested a reasonable accommodation and his or her
disability or need for accommodation is not obvious.

In addition, employers can obtain medical information about employees when they:
• Are required to do so by another federal law or regulation (for example, DOT medical certification requirements for interstate truck drivers);
• Offer voluntary programs aimed at identifying and treating common health problems, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol;
• Are undertaking affirmative action because of a federal, state, or local law that requires affirmative action for individuals with disabilities or voluntarily using the information they obtain to benefit individuals with disabilities.

State laws may impose additional restrictions or authorizations on when employees can be required to submit to a medical examination.

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Posted 12:44 PM  View Comments

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