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Your Legal Rights Concerning Pre-Employment Interviews And Job Acceptance


Any employer covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state laws is not allowed to ask questions about your health or require a medical examination, except in the limited situations noted below. For example, a prospective employer may not ask:

  • Do you have a disability?
  • Do you have cancer or another life changing disease? Have you had cancer or another life changing disease?
  • Are you undergoing medical treatment?
  • Your  history of workers' compensation claims or claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act..

The only exceptions are:

  • When the questions relate to your ability to perform the essential functions of the job for which you are applying and are asked of everyone who applies for the job.
  • If you bring up your health condition.
  • If an impairment is visible (for instance, you're missing a limb). If the impairment is visible, the employer can ask if you can perform the essential functions of the job in spite of the impairment - not what caused it. The classic example is a person with one leg who applies to be a washer repair person. He can be asked if he is physically able to get down basement steps to fix a washer. He cannot be asked what happened to his leg.

A personality profile test is not considered to be a medical examination so it can be part of a pre-employment process.

Under another law, (GINA) employers are not allowed to ask about your genetic make up either. The idea behind the laws is that an employer is supposed to ask about your abilities - not your disabilities. (A personality profile test is not considered to be a medical examination).

Once a prospective job offer has been made, an employer may:

  • Ask you about your health if the employer asks the question of all employees in a similar situation.
  • Require a physical examination if such physicals are job-related and are required of all employees in the same job category.
    • The purpose of the exam can only be to determine whether you are currently fit to do the job - not to consider what could happen in the future.
    • The employer can ask in this exam for a complete medical history, including whether there were previous workers compensation claims.

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