Pre-Employment Physical Exam Requirements

Pre-employment physical examinations may include health inquiries and physical examinations.. Copyright Getty Images Comstock

An employer may required a prospective employee to have a physical examination prior to hiring. Passing a physical can be a condition of employment. Employment physical examinations may include physical examinations and health inquiries including drug and alcohol tests, psychological tests, and physical or mental health assessments.

To protect against hiring discrimination, the physical examination should be required after a job is offered.In addition, the physical examination must be related to the job the applicant will be doing.

In addition, employees may be required to have physicals if health or fitness is a job requirement.

Legal Guidelines

Employers covered by federal laws against disability discrimination (over 15 employees) may require a pre-employment physical examination to determine the suitability of an individual for a job. Drug testing and physical ability tests may also be required as a condition of employment. There are laws in place to protect both the employer and the employee.

What is Included in a Pre-Employment Physical

Employment physical examinations may include health inquiries and physical examinations, including psychological tests, and physical or mental health assessments.

To protect against discrimination in hiring, the physical examination should be required after a job is offered. The physical examination must be related to the job the applicant will be doing. The pre-employment physical examination can only be required after an employment offer.

The American Disabilities Act prohibits employers from requiring a physical examination before an offer is on the table.

Requirements

A physical examination can be required by a company for new hires if all other candidates were also required to have an examination. The results of the exam itself cannot discriminate against the worker, and his or her medical records and history must be kept confidential and separate from their other records.

It is also expected that the person running the test or assessment must fully understand the expectations of the job in order to determine if the potential employee would be able to complete the duties required by that job. 

Drug and Alcohol Tests

There are several types of drugs tests that candidates for employment may be asked to take. The types of drug tests which show the presence of drugs or alcohol include urine drug screenhair drug or alcohol testing, saliva drug screen, and sweat drug screen. 

Administering Drug and Alcohol tests can increase office morale, decrease absenteeism, lower the chance of relapse for former drug users, and reach higher overall office productivity. 

Physical Ability Tests

Physical ability tests measure the physical ability of an applicant to perform a particular task or the strength of specific muscle groups, as well as strength and stamina in general. 

Physical ability tests may be conducted for potential employees in the manual and physical labor sectors.

Abilities such as stamina, flexibility, and strength are normally considered. Some parts of a physical ability test can include muscular tension and power, endurance, cardiovascular health, flexibility, balance, and attitude under physical strain. 

Physical ability tests are often the basis of many employment-based legal battles. Women, minorities, and the elderly are often subject to inequitable or uneven testing. Furthermore, certain conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, heart problems, and other health problems are cited differently under the Americans With Disabilities Act. They are considered medical examinations, and enforcing such testing prior to the start of employment is illegal. Finally, employers may also be liable for any injury that comes up during a physical ability test.

Suggested Reading: Employment Discrimination Laws | Employment Drug Tests

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