Under federal law, the Americans With Disabilities Act places strict limits on collecting and using an employee’s medical information. Employers should never require a job applicant to take a medical exams or answer medical questions before the employer makes a job offer. However, employers may condition a job offer on the satisfactory result of a post-offer medical exam or inquiry if it is a prerequisite for all new employees in the same job description.
If this post-offer medical exam or inquiry reveals that the person had a disability and the person is consequently not hired, the reason the person was rejected must be related to their job and necessary for the business. Additionally, the employer must also show no reasonable accommodation was available that would have enabled this person to perform the essential job functions, or that if the employer had provided an accommodation it would have posed an undue hardship.
Finally, information from all medical exams and inquiries must be collected and maintained on separate forms, in separate medical files, and must be carefully handled as a confidential medical record. Nonetheless, supervisors and managers may be informed about the necessary restrictions and accommodations required for the employee’s job duties, and safety staff may be informed if the person’s disability could require emergency treatment. There are also exceptions dealing with state workers’ compensation offices, insurance companies, and government investigations.
In order to avoid costly litigation, employers need to be certain to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employees should consult a good lawyer if they believe their rights have been violated. For more information, the Oinonen Law Group LLC can assist both employers and employees by helping navigate this complex area of law. Contact us at 404-654-0288 today for a consultation.