By Kristen Wakulchuk


When a potential employee is being considered for a job, it can be a real advantage to have them get a pre-employment physical exam to be sure they’re healthy and ready to hit the ground running. These health assessments can help: 

  • Save money down the road due to fewer accidents, injuries, and worker’s compensation claims. 
  • Establish a baseline to track an individual’s health over time. 
  • Identify potential illnesses or health conditions that may surface down the road. 

But, pre-employment tests must be selected and monitored with care. You run the risk of litigation if a hiring decision is challenged and subsequently determined to be discriminatory or in violation of local, state, or federal regulations. 

Be Familiar with ADA Parameters

Most of the rules pertaining to pre-employment physicals are outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These regulations apply to private companies that employ 15 or more people, as well as government employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations. 

  • The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against a candidate based on a disability. It also covers a number of other related areas, including transportation, public accommodations, and access to local or state services. 
  • The ADA bans you from requiring a medical exam prior to extending a job offer. But, you are allowed to do so after a conditional offer has been made – as long as you require all candidates for the same position to undergo the same exam. You may also ask applicants to describe or demonstrate how they would perform specific job functions.  
  • Physical ability tests may be conducted for candidates for jobs requiring manual or physical labor, where stamina, strength, and flexibility are important. For instance, can an applicant lift a set amount of weight? These evaluations may also cover muscular tension and power, endurance, cardiovascular health, balance, and mental fortitude under physical strain. Note that you may be liable for any injury sustained during a physical ability test. 
  • Pre-employment screenings may also include drug and alcohol or psychological tests and physical and mental health assessments.  
  • The results of an examination cannot discriminate against a person, and their medical records and history must be kept confidential and separate from their other records. 
  • You are expected to make reasonable accommodations for candidates with disabilities to enable them to be considered for a job.  

Partner With the Background Screening Experts

To ensure that your pre-employment process is legal, reliable, valid, and equitable, consider partnering with Chane Solutions. We have a proven track record with a growing list of clients from coast to coast. In addition to providing quick, accurate medical evaluations and other assessments, we’ll keep you up to date on current and developing trends. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.