Employer Entrance Examinations When you are hired by a new employer and they request that you have a medical examination what information do you have to provide? What information may an employer demand? Do you have any privacy? Can the employer demand that you submit to an intensive, invasive medical inquiry? There are many factors that are important to answering these questions. There are a couple of relevant laws and legal principals that relate to medical exams in the employee-employer relationship. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals from being discriminated against because of a disability. In that context, it contains provisions that limit the timing and type of medical exams, so an employee is not discriminated against by medical information gathered by the exam.
Federal and state civil rights laws require that men and women be treated equally. These laws apply to medical exams. While men and women are biologically different, those differences are rarely relevant to your job. Finally, there is a constitutional right to privacy. The American’s with Disabilities Act allows an employer to ask employees non-job related medical questions after a job offer has been made. Employers can seek private information. The only requirement for an employer to have the right to ask piercing, penetrating, or probing questions is that the employee be given a job offer and the job offer only rescinded if the employee cannot perform the essential functions of the job without a reasonable accommodations.
What about questions about pregnancy or birth control? Do you have a right to privacy? As a starting point, you do not have the right to privacy or any other constitutional right against a private employer. If you work for the government—state, local, or national—you have additional right to privacy. The right has been defined very narrowly, thus you have the right to keep private information that would be sexual, personal, and humiliating. But, are the same questions asks of men and women, if not the questions are likely discriminatory. The exception would be if the gender-specific questions were actually job related.
Employers are allowed to ask any questions that are job related or related to a bona fide job qualification. Employees have a limited right to keep information private. If an employer wants you to submit to medical exam they must have made you a job offer that is only conditional on the medical exam.
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