Medical Examinations and Inquiries

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					       Medical Examinations
          and Inquiries
                    John Patrick Evans,
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor – Corporate Consultant
Washington State Department Social and Health Services
           Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Medical Examination - Definition

A “Medical Examination” is a
procedure or test that seeks
information about an individual’s
physical or mental impairments
or health.

Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Pre-Offer
An employer may not require a
job applicant to take a medical
examination, or respond to
medical inquiries or to provide
information about worker’
compensation claims before the
employer makes a “conditional
job offer” to the applicant.
Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Post-Offer
An employer may need to conduct
examinations to determine if an
applicant can perform certain jobs
effectively and safely. Employers
are restricted only in that such
examinations be conducted as a
separate, second step, of the
selection process, after an individual
has met all other job pre-requisites.
Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Post-Offer

Once a conditional job offer is
made, the employer may ask
disability-related questions and
require medical examinations
as long as this is done for all
entering employees in that job

Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Post-Offer
If a job offer is withdrawn, the
employer must show that no
reasonable accommodation
was available that would enable
this individual to perform the
essential job functions, or
that accommodation would
impose an undue hardship.
    Medical Examinations and
    Inquiries - Post-Offer

   A post-offer medical examination
    may disqualify an individual who
    would pose a “direct threat” to
    health or safety. Such a
    disqualification must be job
    related and consistent with
    business necessity.

    Medical Examinations and
    Inquiries Post-Offer

   A post-offer medical examination
    may not disqualify an individual
    with a disability who is currently
    able to perform essential job
    functions because of speculation
    that the disability may cause a
    risk of future injury.

    Medical Examinations and
    Inquiries - Employees
   The need for an examination may be
    triggered by some evidence of
    problems related to job performance
    or safety, or an examination may be
    necessary to determine whether
    individuals in physically demanding
    jobs continue to be fit for duty. In
    either case, the “scope of the
    examination” must be job-related.
Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Employees

Employers are permitted to
require medical examinations
or make inquiries necessary
to implement an employees
request for reasonable

Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Employees
Employers are permitted to
make inquiries and require
medical examinations (fitness
for duty exams) when there is
a need to determine if an
employee is still able to perform
the essential functions of his or
her job.
Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Employees
Medical inquiries related to an
employee’s disability or functional
limitations may include consultations
with doctors or other knowledgeable
professional resources including
occupational and physical therapists,
rehabilitation specialists or organizations
with expertise in adaptations for specific
Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Employees
Conclusions of general medical
studies about work restrictions
for people with certain disabilities
will not be sufficient evidence,
because they do not relate to
a particular individual and do
not consider reasonable
Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Employees
A doctor who conducts medical
examinations for an employer
should not be responsible for
making employment decisions
or deciding whether or not it is
possible to make a reasonable
accommodation. This is the
responsibility of the employer.
Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Employees

The doctor’s role should be limited
to advising the employer about an
individual’s functional limitations
and limitations in relation to job
functions, and about whether the
individual meets the employer’s
health and safety requirements.

Medical Examinations and
Inquiries - Employees

An employer may conduct
voluntary medical examinations
and activities, including
voluntary medical histories,
which are part of an employee
health program available to
employees at the work site.

Confidential Medical Record

Information obtained under an
inquiry regarding the medical
condition or history of the
applicant or employee shall be
collected and maintained on
separate forms and in separate
medical files and be treated as
a confidential medical record.
Confidential Medical Record
Employers may disclose medical
information to:
 * Supervisors and Managers
 * First Aid and Safety Personnel
 * Government Officials Investigating
 * State Workers’ Compensation Offices
 * State Second Injury Funds