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Can My Boss Force Me To Take A Medical Exam?

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2020 | americans with disabilities act, Employment Discrimination, wrongful-termination |

Best Ohio Disability Discrimination Attorney Answer: Can my employer force me to undergo medical testing? Can I refuse a medical at work? Can employers ask about medical conditions during interviews? Can you be fired for medical reasons? My employer knows I have a disability and now they are telling me I have to get a medical exam, is this legal? My employer says that I have to have a medical exam before they hire me, is that right?

A fun fact about me, I
broke my arm lifting weights my first year of law school. This wasn’t just any
break, I had a nasty compound
that required surgery to fix. I guess
you could say I really did a number on myself! After the surgery, I was in a
cast for months. When I finally got the cast off, I realized that I had a nice nine-inch
scar on my forearm. I must admit I was less than proud of my battle scars. To
avoid notice and the inevitable follow up questions I would wear long sleeve
shirts almost everywhere, especially at work. My biggest fear was that an
employer would see my scar and ask to follow up questions about my medical

Believe it or not, back
in the day, a lot of employers would ask job applicants and current employees
to provide information about their medical, physical and/or mental health. This
sensitive medical information would be used to exclude and discriminate against
people with disabilities or perceived disabilities. These medical exams would
specifically target applicants with invisible disabilities, such as diabetes,
epilepsy, heart disease, cancer, and mental illness. Employers would refuse to
hire these applicants even if they had the ability to perform the job.

Fortunately, Congress
created the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in
1990. Our employment discrimination
have blogged before regarding the ADA’s requirements
to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled workers through the
interactive process. (See How Do I
Discuss A Reasonable Accommodation With My Employer?
; Is A
Position Transfer A Reasonable Disability Accommodation?
; Is Time Off
A Reasonable ADA Accommodation?
). Our employment law lawyers have
also discussed that ADA makes it illegal to fire an employee because of a
disability or perceived disability, which would give rise to a claim for wrongful
. (See Is It
Wrongful Termination To Fire Disabled Workers?
; Can My Boss
Fire Me Because of My Medical Condition?
; Can I Be
Fired In A Reduction In Force Because I’m Disabled?

Today, our employment
lawyers are focusing on another part of the ADA. The
ADA also contains provisions that have severely limited what disability-related
inquiries and medical examinations employers are allowed to request and when an
employer is allowed to make these inquiries. These ADA provisions reflect
Congress’s intent to protect the rights of applicants and employees to be
hired, or retained based only on merit, and not their disability status.

Under the
ADA, an employer’s ability to require that an applicant employee undergoes a
medical examination, or to make general disability related inquiries is broken
down into three separate stages: the pre-offer stage, the post-offer stage, and
the employment stage.

Can I be
asked about my medical history as part of an interview? As the name suggests,
the first stage, the pre-offer stage is the time period before a potential
employer has made a job offer of employment. The ADA forbids any disability
related inquiries or requires medical examinations, even if the inquiries or
examinations are related to the job, during the pre-offer stage.

Can I be
forced to take a medical exam as a condition of a job offer? The second stage,
the post offer stage, is the time after a job applicant has been given a
conditional job offer, but before they have started work. In the second stage,
an employer is allowed to make disability-related inquiries and request medical
examinations, even if these inquiries and examinations are not related to the
job, as long as the employer conducts these inquiries and examinations for all
so for all potential employees to whom the company has extended a job offer in
the same job category.

Can an
employer require me to disclose medical information? The third stage covers any
time after employment begins. While an individual is employed an employer may
make disability-related inquiries and require medical examinations only if these inquiries and examinations
are job-related and consistent with business necessity.

Can My Boss Force Me To Take A Medical Exam?

as the Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals
reinforced, an employer is not allowed to make disability related inquiries or
require medical examinations simply because they become aware of an employee’s

in EEOC v. McLeod Health, Inc., Fourth
Circuit held that an employer is not allowed to force a long term employee to
submit to a medical examination just because it came to the employer’s
attention that the employee happened to have a disability or perceived
disability. (See Top Employment
Law Attorney: Do Not File With The EEOC Without Doing This First
File With The
EEOC Or Get A Lawyer? Call The Right Attorney
; Should I Get A
Lawyer To Help Me File An EEOC Charge?
; and Should I File
With The EEOC On My Own? Call The Right Attorney

Witten had worked for McLeod Health for 28 years. Cecelia essentially worked as
the editor of McLeod’s internal employee newsletter. Cecelia’s job involved
interviewing employees about current hospital events and publishing articles
about these events. Cecelia’s job duties would require her to travel to the
company’s various locations which were located within an approximate 100-mile

to McLeod when they hired her, Cecelia had a physical disability Medically
referred to as “postaxial hypoplasia of the lower extremity.” This physical
disability caused Cecelia to have some issues with mobility. More specifically,
Cecelia’s condition would at times cause her to trip or fall. It would also
cause Cecelia to become fatigued more easily. Cecelia was also unable to sit or
stand in the same position for long periods of time. In 2012, the Cecelia
unfortunately, had three falls within a four-month period. However, only one of
these falls occurred while Cecelia was at work and she did not suffer a serious
injury. None of these falls caused Cecelia to miss time from work.

this time Cecelia began to receive complaints from her manager. Cecelia’s
manager would repeatedly express concerns about Cecelia’s job performance. Some
of these complaints involved missed deadlines, showing up to work late and
being “less than enthusiastic” about the McLeod’s internal messaging
system. Cecelia’s manager complained to the Human Resources (HR) that Cecelia’s
performance issues were potentially due to health problems, or a disability.
Cecelia’s manager also reported Cecelia’s fall to HR. After Cecelia’s manager’s
complaints it was recommended that the manager’s concerns be forwarded to
McLeod’s occupational health department. The occupational health department
then determined that Cecelia should be required to undergo a fitness-for-duty
medical exam.

her forced medical exam, Cecelia provided her medical history as well as an explanation
of her recent falls. After the initial examination, it was decided that Cecelia
should undergo additional testing. In the meantime, Cecelia was placed on paid
administrative leave until the testing and results were completed. (See Can My Boss Force Me To Take Medical Leave?). The medical examination eventually determined that she
was a “[h]igh fall risk in 75% of all work related task[s].” After
receiving these medical results, McLeod placed Cecelia on several work
restrictions, including travel limited to 10 miles from her main office, the
use of a motorized scooter and a specific parking space. In response, Cecelia
decided to submit an accommodations form, believing that it was required in
light of the recent restrictions.

In light
of Cecelia’s requested accommodations, McLeod told her not to return to work
because the accommodations prevented her from traveling to all of the company’s
locations. Cecelia was then placed on unpaid medical leave for six months and
after those six months, McLeod decided to terminate her. Following her
termination, Cecelia did the right thing and filed a claim alleging that she
was forced to undergo a medical exam without cause and was ultimately
terminated because of her disability. However, after the claims were brought to
court, they were dismissed in favor of the employer.

did not stop there; she appealed her claim. On appeal, the appellate court
determined that there was sufficient evidence supporting a finding that
traveling to the various campuses was not actually an essential function of
Cecelia’s job. Specifically, there was evidence that Cecelia’s employee
interviews could be taken over the phone. The appellate court also found that
when McLeod required Cecelia to take the medical fitness for duty exam, McLeod
did not have a reasonable belief that Cecelia’s postaxial hypoplasia of the lower
extremity made her unable to perform her job safely. Because McLeod lacked this
reasonable belief it was unlawful for them to force Cecelia to undergo a
medical examination, and even more unlawful to terminate her upon receiving the
results of the medical examination.

If your
employer or your prospective employer has made disability inquiries or forced
you to undergo a medical examination, or if you have requested an accommodation
for your disability and your employer has denied you, you need to call the
right attorney
. Having to
live with a disability is difficult enough without worrying about the effect it
may have on your job. If you are disabled or your
employer perceives you as being disabled; and you have been fired,
wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully
disciplined, denied wages, or even think that you might need a disability discrimination lawyer, then call
the right attorney
to schedule
a free and confidential consultation. The best option is not to wait. Call our office at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment law.

Can My Boss Force Me To Take A Medical Exam?


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I do if my manager sends me for a medical examination” or “can I be fired for
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