Can employers require job applicants to undergo medical exams?
Every job is different. Some jobs require employees to sit at a desk all day, while some jobs require employees to be on their feet. Some employees must spend their days lifting heavy objects or carrying heavy loads. And since each job is different, the physical qualifications needed for each job vary as well. In trying to ensure that employees have the requisite physical capabilities, can an employer require a job applicant to undergo a medical exam as a condition of employment? As usual – it depends. Simply put, it all comes down to whether the applicant is required to undergo the test before or after a job offer is made.
In California, an employer may require an applicant to take a medical exam AFTER an offer of employment has been made. It is legal to condition the job offer on the results of the exam, provided the following factors are met:
· The exam must be job related and consistent with business necessity.
· The same exam must be given to all entering employees in the same job category.
· Exam results must kept on separate forms and treated as confidential medical records.
· Any individual who would be disqualified by the results is allowed to submit independent medical opinions before a final decision is made (CA Comm. Rules Title 2 Sec. 7294.2).
The Federal law (ADA) is similar:
· An employer may NOT ask a job applicant to answer medical questions or take a medical exam before making a job offer.
· An employer may ask a job applicant whether they can perform the job and how they would perform the job.
· The law allows an employer to condition a job offer on the applicant answering certain medical questions or successfully passing a medical exam, but only if all new employees in the same job have to answer the questions or take the exam.
In most situations, employers will not need job applicants to undergo a medical exam before they begin working. But there remain numerous industries where a medical exam would be a necessity in the job offer process. If your company falls into the latter category, make sure you comply with both the state and Federal requirements listed above.
This article is for education and information purposes only; it should not be construed as legal advice. If you have an employment law question for inclusion in a future article, contact Brett T. Abbott at Gubler & Abbott ([email protected]). For specific employment law advice or other legal assistance, contact Gubler & Abbott , (559) 625-9600, 1110 N. Chinowth St., Visalia, CA 93291 (www.thecalifornialawyers.com).