Pre-Employment Physical Forms

Mary Gormandy White
medical exam to check lifting ability

Whether you are a hiring manager who needs to learn more about pre-employment medical screening, or if you are a job candidate who wants to know what to expect when being asked to have this type of physical exam, it's important to be aware that relying on general medical exam forms - even those labeled as being for pre-employment purposes - is not something that is in your best interest. While a generic form can give you some idea of what might be applicable in your situation, the only way to come up with a truly appropriate form is to create one based on the precise physical requirements for the specific job that is being filled.

Considerations for Job Applicants

If you want to know what kinds of things will be assessed during a pre-employment physical exam, start by looking at the job description for the position of which you are applying. If you are required to take a pre-employment exam for the position, the physician will perform a medical exam focused specifically on your ability to safely perform the essential functions of the job.

Depending on job requirements, the exam may include various types of medical tests such as blood tests, balance assessments, lifting tests and more. Ideally, the description will include a section that details physical requirements. If it doesn't, look closely at the duties listed and use that information to determine what the physical requirements are likely to be if you want to come up with a good idea of what the doctor will check for during your exam.

For a general idea of what this type of form looks like, see THUCC.com, but do not expect the document used in your exam to be the same.

Important Considerations for Employers

It's important to fully understand the legal requirements and risks associated with this type of employee screening. Introducing pre-employment physical exams into your hiring process is something that should not be done without ensuring that you have very precise job descriptions with duties and physical requirements that are clearly tied to essential job functions. That's because these types of exams cannot be general medical exams. They have to focus solely on the purpose of assessing fitness-for-duty for a specific job.

ADA Considerations

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is not lawful to require all applicants or interviewees to undergo a pre-employment medical exam, nor can you impose this requirement on your short-list of choices. It only becomes legal to require this type of test after a true conditional offer of employment has been made. Further, the offer cannot be conditioned on anything other than successful completion of a fit-for-duty medical exam. This means that nothing else can be pending at the time you send someone you plan to hire for a job - not even drug screening results or a background test.

Further, If medical information that is not specifically related to the individual's ability to perform the job is collected and the employer decides not to move forward with hiring the candidate, the employer can face discrimination charges under the ADA and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) violations.

To learn more about ADA and ADAAA requirements regarding medical exams, see ADA.gov.

GINA Considerations

If genetic information is collected during a pre-employment physical (or any other employment-related medical exam), the employer will be considered to be in violation of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). Note that the definition of genetic information includes, but is not limited to, family medical history data.

This requirement may seem counterintuitive to medical professionals, but it is a fact that the health issues of a person's relatives do not have a direct impact on the individual's fitness for duty for a particular job. Employers are well advised to go so far as to inform the medical professionals they use for employment-related exams in writing that collection of genetic information during such exams is prohibited.

See the Genetic Information Discrimination page at EEOC.gov to learn more about GINA.

Don't Take Unnecessary Risks

As an employer, do not try to put together your own pre-employment forms or use documents created by other companies. Instead, establish a relationship with an occupational medical center or clinic that specializes in employment-related medical exams. Provide the clinic with your job descriptions and instruct them (in writing) to only assess candidates as it relates to determining fitness-for-duty to perform the job description for the position for which each one is being considered. The clinic's staff will have the expertise to use your job descriptions to put together forms that specifically meet your needs while remaining in compliance with all applicable legal requirements.

Pre-Employment Physical Forms