Legal Landmines

Published:  September 14, 2014

Questions Can Cause Problems During Fitness-for-duty Exams

Employers, beware of the questions you ask your employees during their annual fitness-for-duty examinations. All-too-familiar questions regarding family medical history and past trips to the hospital may run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) when posed by employers on questionnaires meant to determine whether employees can do their jobs.

"Have you or any of your family members had any of the following medical conditions?" This is a routine question we all answer at the doctor's office without hesitation. However, for employers, this question in the context of an employee's annual fitness-for-duty exam can be a minefield.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has found seemingly routine questions requesting family medical history, as part of an employer's fitness-for-duty exam, violate the ADA and GINA.

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