The Americans with Disabilities Act helps to ensure that disabled Americans may avoid discrimination in a host of different situations. One of the most pressing aims of the ADA is to ensure that disabled workers are not illegally discriminated against by their employers. However, it is important to note that certain provisions of the ADA only apply to businesses of a certain size. In addition, it is important to note that the ADA governs numerous interactions that you may have with your employees, even if you do not know whether or not they are disabled.
In general, the ADA protects workers from exposure to “overly broad medical inquiries” by their employers. As a result, it is important for business owners to avoid making such inquiries without consulting an attorney experienced in matters of business and commercial law. Failure to avoid these kinds of inquiries could lead to an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and even to costly fines and damages.
An attorney will best be able to guide business owners through the specifics of what they may and may not ask workers under the ADA. However, if business owners and management keep a few key notes in mind, they can feel more confident that there interactions will be considered legal.
If a medical examination or a medical inquiry initiated by an employer is not “job-related and consistent with business necessity,” it will likely not be considered legal under the ADA. For further guidance, please consult an attorney and analysis of this issue as explained by the EEOC.
Source: Findlaw Free Enterprise, “What Are 'Overly Broad Medical Inquiries' Under the ADA?” Christopher Coble, March 9, 2015