Business Necessity Under the ADA

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What Does It Mean for a Medical Exam to Be Job Related and Consistent with Business Necessity under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

According to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), an employer can only require an employee to undergo a medical exam when the medical exam is "job related and consistent with business necessity." The medical exam must be both of these, not just one or the other. It is important to note that "job-related" and "business necessity" are two distinct requirements.

How Can a Medical Exam be Job Related?

In order for a medical exam to be job related under the ADA, it must actually measure a person's ability to perform the job. For example, if a medical exam is used to screen out individuals who have a disability, that test can only be used if it measures the person's ability to perform the job. So, an employer is not allowed to require you to submit to a medical exam unless that medical exam has some bearing on your ability to perform the job.

Does Job Related Refer to Any Function of the Job or Just the Important Ones?

The job related requirement applies to any function or condition of the job. As long as the medical exam has something to do with your ability to perform some function of the job, it satisfies the job related requirement. But, if you have a disability that prevents you from performing trivial or marginal job functions, the ADA requires your employer to look at whether you can perform the essential functions of your job.

When Is a Medical Exam Consistent with Business Necessity?

Under the ADA, not only must a medical exam be job related, it must also be consistent with business necessity. This means that the medical exam must relate to the essential functions of the job. So, the medical exam must test your ability to perform the core of your job. For example, if you are a cashier at a grocery store, the essential functions of your job would be to ring people up and help them bag their items. Any medical exam your employer required would have to be related to how you perform those functions in order to be consistent with business necessity.

I'm Being Required to Submit to a Medical Exam I Think Is Unlawful, Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you feel that you have been or will be subjected to an unlawful medical exam, an experienced employment discrimination lawyer can help you determine whether or not the medical exam violates your rights under the ADA. If you believe the medical exam was illegal, a lawyer can help you file a lawsuit.

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Last Modified: 12-08-2014 03:00 PM PST

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