Your questions answered: Are pre-employment medical assessments discriminatory?

By Portner Press on May 21st, 2019
  1. Bullying, Harassment & Discrimination
  2. Discrimination in the workplace

Q
My sales and distribution business operates within the metals industry. We are considering pre-employment medicals for new warehouse/delivery driver employees.

Would you please advise what legal requirements, if any, we need to consider?

Is it discrimination to request a group of workers to undergo these tests when we do not request new ‘office’ staff to take the same tests? Or do we have to have a blanket policy covering all new employees?

A
In general terms you are entitled to ask questions regarding any pre-existing conditions of a candidate during the interview process that are relevant to the inherent requirements of the role they are interviewing for. This would be appropriate for warehouse/delivery drivers but may not be necessary for office workers.

You may ask for a written declaration stating that at the time of accepting the relevant position, the candidate had no knowledge of a pre-existing injury or condition which may impede their ability to perform the inherent duties required in the role. You could require this for warehouse/delivery workers as well as office workers.

An action in discrimination will, however, be available to a candidate who, during the interview process, reveals a previous injury or ailment, and the candidate is not chosen for the role because of that previous injury or condition. The only exception to this is where the injury or condition would prevent the candidate from performing the inherent requirements of the role they are interviewing for.

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