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Generally, no, no, and no. These and other tricky ADA questions are answered in EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance on Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations.
First of all, remember that there is a difference between applicants and employees, and the rules concerning disability-related inquiries and medical examinations are different at each stage.
May employers require employees to have periodic medical examinations?
No, with very limited exceptions for employees who work in positions affecting public safety, such as police officers, firefighters, or airline pilots. Even in these limited situations, the examinations must address specific job-related concerns.
For example, a police department could periodically conduct vision tests or electrocardiograms because of concerns about conditions that could affect the ability to perform essential job functions and thereby result in a direct threat. A police department could not, however, periodically test its officers to determine whether they are HIV-positive because a diagnosis of this condition alone would not result in a direct threat.
May employers subject employees to periodic alcohol testing?
Generally, no. Employers, however, may subject employees who have been in alcohol rehabilitation programs to periodic alcohol testing where the employer has a reasonable belief that the employee will pose a direct threat in absence of such testing.
In determining whether to subject such an employee to periodic alcohol testing, the employer should consider the safety risks associated with the position the employee holds, the consequences of the employee's inability or impaired ability to do his or her job, and the reason(s) why the employer believes that the employee will pose a direct threat.
Of course, an employer may maintain and enforce rules prohibiting employees from being under the influence of alcohol in the workplace and may conduct alcohol testing for this purpose if it has a reasonable belief that an employee has been drinking during work hours.
Everything California employers need to know about illegal discrimination and harassment—at all stages of the employment relationship. Learn more here.
May an employer ask all employees which prescription medications they are taking?
Generally, no. In limited circumstances, however, employers may be able to ask employees in positions affecting public safety about their use of medications that may affect their ability to perform essential functions and thereby result in a direct threat.
For example, an airline could require pilots to report when they are taking medications that may affect their ability to fly. A fire department, however, could not require employees in administrative positions to report their use of medication because it is unlikely that these employees would pose a direct threat as a result of an inability, or impaired ability, to do their jobs.
Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation: A Complete Manual for California Employers
Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are words employers don’t like to hear, to say the least.
These three simple words describe a range of unlawful conduct that weaves a web of potential liability for employers of all sizes. These types of lawsuits can be costly, as the retailer Abercrombie & Fitch learned when it agreed to settle a class action discrimination lawsuit for approximately $50 million.
Although you’re probably familiar with basic discriminatory, harassing, and retaliatory conduct, applying the various applicable federal and state laws to real-life scenarios can be tricky. How you deal with these situations can lead to employee complaints, lawsuits, and expensive resolutions.
Preventing discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace starts here, with our brand-new manual exclusively for California employers.
The report includes sections on:
The report also contains nine easy-reference charts for quick access to the information you need, when you need it.
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How To Survive an Employee Lawsuit: 10 Tips for Success today!
I suggest using a use a two-part form for HRAs. The first section has all of the questions that don’t seek genetic information, so financial incentive hinges on completion of this section only. The second section has the questions about family history or other genetic information and is clearly marked as optional.