The use of medical examinations for employment purposes.J Law Med. 2003 Aug; 11(1):93-102.JL
This article examines a number of legal issues which arise where medical examinations or tests are used in the employment context, either to test the suitability of a prospective employee in pre-employment situations or to ascertain the fitness of existing employees. Employer justifications for seeking medical information usually relate to attempts to comply with health and safety legislation and to reduce workers compensation costs. This article discusses the legal obligations involved in pre-employment medical testing and, in particular, employee obligations to provide correct information in relation to their health to a prospective employer. It also notes the consequences for employees of providing false information in relation to workers compensation claims and dismissal cases. The article notes the growing trend of requiring drug and alcohol testing for existing employees, particularly in the mining industry. The article concludes by noting that employers need to take care in seeking medical information, and that it should not simply be done as a mechanical, matter-of-course exercise. Failure to observe anti-discrimination laws may result in the employer facing allegations of misuse of medical information and claims for damages for discrimination.