Pre-Employment Physical, Medical Exam, And Drug Tests – Lawful?

Under most states, a potential employer cannot require a job applicant to take such a test before offering the applicant a job.

The employer must offer a job to a potential employee before requiring him or her to take a medical or physical examination. You employer might be able to reject the potential employee if the exam shows that he or she cannot perform the essential job functions with or without a reasonable accommodation. Remember: If the employer rejects the potential employee after failing the exam, then he or she will know that the only reason for the rejection was the exam.

The exam must be related to the work the employee will be doing. For example, if you are hiring an office receptionist, the employer shouldn’t ask the applicant to lift 75-pound weights as part of the medical exam. On the other hand, if the employer is hiring someone for a parcel service job, the employer might be able to reject an applicant that can’t lift a 75-pound weight.


Generally, the results of the exam must be kept in a file separate from the employee’s regular personnel file and should not be revealed to anyone except a medical practitioner, such as the company doctor or, with the employee’s consent, the employee’s personal physician or by service of a valid and lawful subpoena.

Can A Employer require an applicant to take a pre-employment drug test?

States have differing laws regarding drug tests. Generally, drug tests are permitted for applicants for all types of jobs, even jobs that are not “safety sensitive.” This trend is growing throughout the nation.



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