Can My Employer Require Me to Get a Medical Examination?

An employer subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may make post-hiring inquiries into the ability of an employee to perform job related functions.  Otherwise, the employer cannot require medical examination or make inquiries of an employee as to whether such employee is an individual with a disability or as to the nature or severity of the disability, unless such examination or inquiry is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.  42 USC § 12112(d)(4).

Pursuant to business necessity exception of ADA § 102(d)(4)(A) (42 USCS § 12112(d)(4)(A)), where health problems have had substantial and injurious impact on employee’s job performance, an employer may require the employee to undergo a physical or mental examination designed to determine his ability to work, even if the examination might disclose whether the employee has a disability or the extent of disability.

Under 42 USCS § 12112(d)(4)(A), an employer must show that the examination or inquiry genuinely serves the asserted business necessity and that the request is no broader or more intrusive than necessary.  However, the employer does not have to show that the examination or inquiry is the only way of achieving the business necessity, just that the examination or inquiry is a reasonably effective method of achieving the employer’s goal. Transp. Workers Union, Local 100 v N.Y. City Transit Auth., 341 F Supp 2d 432,  (SD NY 2004).

An employer is not in violation of the ADA (42 USCS § 12112) by requesting medical documentation from an employee to confirm his disability where the employee requests accommodations for a disability. Further if the employee refuses to provide such documentation, the employer may schedule a medical examination for the employee and terminate the employee if he continues to fail to attend the examination. See Kennedy v Superior Printing Co. 215 F3d 650 (6th Cir. 2000)

That health information however is to be kept confidential. 42 USCS § 12112(d)(3)(B)(i), explicitly provides for disclosure of certain medical information to supervisor only in select circumstances, and by so expressly limiting disclosure, the statutory scheme implicitly forecloses disclosure to supervisors for purposes that fall outside those narrow and specific purposes.