Allowable Medical Exams Under the ADA

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Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must comply with certain rules regarding medical exams of applicants and employees.  If an employer violates these rules, it can constitute employment discrimination.   There are three stages at which the issues of medical exams can come up: before a job has been offered, after a job has been offered but before employment begins, and after employment has begun.  The rules regarding whether or not requiring a medical exam is permissible vary for each stage. 

Pre-Job Offer Medical Exams

Under the ADA, an employer cannot require an applicant to undergo any medical exam if the employer is yet to offer the applicant a job.  In addition, employers are not allowed to ask whether an applicant has a disability.  An employer may ask you how you would perform the job functions an in some circumstances may ask if any reasonable accommodations will be necessary.   

After a Job Offer, but Before Employment Has Begun

Employers are allowed to condition job offers on completion of a medical exam, provided certain criteria are met.  In order for an employer to offer a job with the condition of taking a medical exam:

If an employer decides to withdraw a job offer after a medical exam, the employer must be able to show the reason for withdrawing the offer was:

After Employment Has Begun

Once you begin working for the employer, your employer is entitled to require medical exam so long as they are job-related and a business necessity.  For example, an employer can require a medical exam to show that an employee actually needs a reasonable accommodation. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Medical Exam Issue?

If you feel that you have been the victim of employment discrimination or disability discrimination, an experienced employment lawyer can help you determine whether a medical exam you were required to go through was unlawful.  Employment discrimination laws, in particular the ADA, are very complex.  A lawyer familiar with employment law will be able to assist you in bringing your case.

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Last Modified: 11-11-2011 03:50 PM PST

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