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I “Failed” My Pre-Employment Physical! Now What?

Not every job requires a pre-employment physical, but if you apply to one that does it can be an intimidating experience. It’s important to understand the laws related to employment and health examinations so you can determine if you are being treated fairly. Employers have the right to consider some aspects of your health, but sometimes this is taken too far.

First and foremost, an employer’s policies regarding pre-employment physicals must meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. For a detailed explanation of the ADA, visit resources.

A pre-employment physical should not be used to identify and screen out applicants because of a disability. This means a potential employer can only require a physical if they are able to clearly show an examination is job-related and consistent with a potential employee’s work.

Medical examinations can be required on an ongoing basis throughout the length of employment, as long as the exam is consistent and related to job duties. All potential and current employees must undergo the same medical examination if they will be or are in a similar position within the company.

Physical Examinations Cannot be Required of Applicants, Only those with Conditional Employment Offers

Though a physical exam with certain restrictions is acceptable, it cannot be required until after a job offer is made. Physical exams must be made after a conditional offer of employment has been extended. A potential employer is permitted to ask you if you have the ability to fulfill job duties, but cannot ask you if you have a disability or ask about an obvious disability.

Physical examinations must be used to establish only whether or not a prospective employee can perform his or her job duties, which means the doctor should be familiar with your potential job description, but not involved in making hiring decisions. Your health information is forwarded to your potential employer and used only to assess your ability to perform your job duties. All medical information the employer receives must be kept confidential and stored away from other employee records.

What If Your Physical Shows You Cannot Perform the Duties Associated with the Job?

If your physical reveals an inability to perform your job duties, the employer has a right to withdraw the conditional offer of employment. This withdraw must be consistent with business necessity or show there is a direct threat to your health or safety, or the health or safety of others if you were assigned to the job. It’s also allowable for an employer to withdraw an offer of employment if the company is unable to make reasonable accommodations for your condition.

Have you been offered a position with a company and the offer was withdrawn after undergoing a medical examination? Do you disagree with the employee’s assessment of your health and believe you would be able to perform the duties of the job? There’s a chance you might be facing discrimination related to your health. For more information or to speak to someone about your rescinded job offer, contact the New York Employment Law Firm of Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to discuss your situation.

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