Portions of Post-Offer Medical Examinations May Violate Federal Law
The EEOC filed lawsuits this past May, claiming that employers had violated the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they required applicants to submit to post-job-offer medical exams. Though GINA and ADA do not bear directly on workers’ compensation issues, they do affect post-job-offer medical examinations which are often important aspects of workers’ compensation claims.
In EEOC v. Fabricut, Inc. and EEOC v. Founders Pavilion, Inc., the employers allegedly required applicants to undergo medical examinations, which included questions about family medical histories. In both cases, the employers may have withdrawn job offers based on the applicants’ answers to these questions. In doing so, the EEOC claimed the employers violated GINA, which prohibits an employer from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information from applicants, including family medical histories.
Notably, the ADA and GINA do not prevent employers from requiring applicants to undergo any medical examinations, but they do limit the scope of such exams. Employers may require a medical examination that is designed to detect disabilities that would directly affect an applicant’s ability to perform the physical duties of a job. Based on the results of this type of limited medical exam, the applicant may be found physically incapable of safely performing the duties of the job, and unless a reasonable accommodation can be made, the employer may withdraw a job offer.
Employers and their counselors should review post-offer medical examinations, if any, and make sure the exam is limited to gathering information that is relevant to the physical requirements of the job. If the post-offer exam asks about family medical history or conditions that would not affect an applicant’s ability to perform the job, then the exam may result in violations of the ADA and GINA. If testing is done by a private doctor or clinic, then employers should verify that prohibited information is not being requested on their behalf.
About the Author
This blog post was written by Trey Cotney, Esq. of Fish Nelson LLC, a law firm dedicated to representing employers, self-insured employers and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation matters. Fish Nelson is a member of The National Workers’ Compensation Network (NWCDN). If you have any questions about this article or Alabama workers’ compensation issues in general, please feel free to contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or any firm member at 205-332-3430.