When can an employer make a disability – related inquiry or require a fitness for duty evaluation?
Under the ADA, an employer’s ability to make disability-related inquiries or require medical or psychological examinations (aka “fitness for duty evaluations”) is analyzed in three different stages:
- Job Applicant: Pre-Job Offer
- Job Applicant: Post-Job Offer
- Current Employee
The rules pertaining to such inquiries and examinations vary depending on the stage.
At the 1st stage (prior to a job offer), the ADA prohibits all disability-related inquiries and medical examinations, even if they are related to the job. EEOC ADA Enforcement Guidance: Preemployment Disability-Related Questions and Medical Examinations (10/10/95).
At the 2nd stage (after an applicant is given a conditional job offer, but before he/she starts work), an employer may make disability-related inquiries and conduct medical examinations, regardless of whether they are related to the job, as long as the employer does so for all job applicants in the same job category.
At the 3rd stage (after employment begins), an employer may make disability-related inquiries and require medical examinations only if they are job-related and consistent with business necessity.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]