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A.J.
A.J., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4300
Experience:  Licensed to practice law, I have experience in Employment, Appeals, and Landlord/Tenant Law
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I have been extended a contingent offer for an office job in

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I have been extended a contingent offer for an office job in the engineering/technical field. It involves primarily working at a computer for long periods. I have a pre-employment physical and drug screen scheduled.
1) I want to know what, if anything, I'm required to disclose about pre-existing physical or mental health conditions, if those conditions are currently under control by a prescription drug.
2) for the drug screen, do I need to reveal any prescription drugs I'm currently taking prior to the test?

A.J. :

Hello, and thank you for using Just Answer. My name isXXXXX am an employment law professional and I look forward to answering your questions this evening.

A.J. :

(1) An employee is not required to reveal any medical information to a potential employer. If an employer requires such information it could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A.J. :

(2) However, where there is a risk of a positive drug screen resulting from prescription medications, employees often provide sufficient information so that the drug screen does not preclude them from being hired.

A.J. :

Again, keep in mind that were an employer to refuse to allow someone to take a position because of taking a legally prescribed medication, there is potential liability under the ADA.

A.J. :

So, in short, no information MUST be required. However, it is worth checking to see if the medications you are taking will show up on a drug screening so that you can determine in advance if or when to provide information for the screening.

Customer:

So what do I do during the medical questionnaire (which I assume there will be one, like there is at every doctor's office) when it asks about medical history?

A.J. :

Generally for a drug screening they require less information. However, ultimately an employer generally cannot require the disclosure of information about medical conditions. How much information you choose to provide is up to you.

Customer:

This is not just a drug screening, it is also a pre-employment physical (I assume with a dr or nurse practitioner). So there will likely be medical history and questions about current doctors and meds on the questionnaire.

Customer:

Does the dr or clinic reveal this information back to the employer or just whether the candidate will be able to perform the job duties or not?

A.J. :

Sure, that makes sense (although I am a little surprised that a desk job requires a pre-employment physical). As with anything, an employer cannot require that you disclose protected health information. Now, having said that, if an employer were to choose not to hire someone for something that came up in a pre-employment health screening like this, they would likely face liability under the ADA.

Customer:

"... they would likely face liability under the ADA." I think that would be hard for me to prove.

A.J. :

As for what a Dr. can reveal, that really depends on the employer. Under HIPAA, a doctor cannot reveal any medical information without your consent. Whether or not they will want you to sign a consent form allowing the information be released to the employer, I can't say with certainty. Again, the whole thing sounds a little strange to me given the nature of the work involve.


 

A.J. :

Perhaps, although if you were already offered a position, pending the physical and drug test, then were let go after the physical, the circumstances certainly indicate discrimination, and circumstantial evidence is allowed when trying to prove discrimination.

Customer:

I think it is SOP for this company. I have never had to do this for any other job (but my last new job was about 18 years ago, and I know things have changed).

Customer:

I am nervous about what to say or not say on the forms. I'm afraid if I don't say something, and it comes out later, then I could be fired for that.

A.J. :

That is a fair concern, and generally it is important to be honest when filling out forms. However, when it comes to medical information, an employer has to follow very specific rules about what it can and cannot consider. Considering medical information against someone would almost certainly lead to action for employment discrimination under the ADA. The ADA specifically states that information about a medical condition or disability cannot be used "against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability", and this specifically includes information gained through "medical examination and inquiries."

Customer:

OK. I guess I will judge based on what the forms are asking and what legalease I'm signing.

A.J. :

That is a prudent course. It also would not hurt to sit down in person with an employment law attorney in confidence and discuss your specific conditions/disabilities to asses how much can/should be revealed. For privacy concerns, it is important that this be done in confidence. While it is entirely up to you, should you choose to sit down with an attorney in person, Ohio Legal Services provides a list of referral services at:

A.J. :

http://www.ohiolegalservices.org/programs/ohio-lawyer-referral-programs-1

A.J. :

I hope this chat has been helpful, and let me know if you have any additional questions or need clarification of anything that I have said. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

Customer:

I don't have time between now and the med exam, which is tomorrow afternoon. Can you say if you are an attorney or not?

A.J. :

I can, and I am an attorney, but this is a publicly accessible, informational site only, we can't give direct legal advice, which is why I always encourage people to sit down in person with an attorney if they are able. I provide as accurate information as I can make available, but ultimately any action that could have an effect on legal rights should not be taken before talking to an attorney in confidence when it is possible.

A.J. :

Sometimes it is not possible, understandably, I just like to make sure that people know that it is prudent to do so when it is possible.

A.J. :

I hope this chat has been helpful, and let me know if you have any additional questions or need clarification of anything that I have said. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

Customer:

ok, thanks.

A.J. :

You are very welcome, it has been a pleasure chatting with you, and let me know if you have any additional questions. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

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