Can Employers Require Pre-Employment Physicals?
What do I do if I feel I have been discriminated against as a result of the physical?
Please explore our website for resources in regard to education, advocacy, and work. For assistance with the ADA, contact the Americans with Disabilities Act Technical Assistance Centers. Learning about the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 will help you to understand how the ADAAA broadens coverage for many individuals.
For protection, advocacy, and legal assistance, contact your state National Disability Rights Network. Be sure to click on your state so that you get relevant and timely information. Also check out your rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
For connections with people with disabilities in your community, contact your local Center for Independent Living.
Under the ADA, employers can require pre-employment physicals. The extent of the physicals and the reason for them must be consistent with business practice and job-related. Physicals should be looking at function, not diagnosis. i.e, does this candidate have the ability to perform the essential functions of the job for which they are applying? Such physicals must be the same for every applicant for the same position, or employers will have a difficult time showing they were not treating you differently, presumably because of a “perceived” disability.
Employers should not ask, “Do you have a condition that needs accommodation?” but they can ask, “Can you perform the essential functions of this job with or without a reasonable accommodation?” If you feel you have been treated unfairly, you can file an internal grievance with the agency’s Affirmative Action department, stating that you feel you received disparate treatment as a result of your “perceived” disability. That might result in additional training for the agency around ADA issues.
Another place to make formal complaints is the Bureau of Labor and Industry in your state. By filing a complaint with BOL, you are addressing both state and federal employment issues. You also can file a complaint with the EEOC (federal). If you file with EEOC or BOLI it is important to be clear about your goal. It may be to get a job, or to get punitive damages related to stress, or to require the agency to get additional training on ADA issues.
Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.