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how do you handle a medical physical upon accepting a job ?
Sep 23, 2002

I recently read a response of yours regarding getting a new job and having HIV. One thing you did not answer was having to take an employment physical and dealing with the HIV issue at that time. How does one effectively handle a requested medical physical by an employer in terms of all the information that has to be divulged? Thanks .. David

Response from Ms. Breuer

David, Remember what the purpose of a pre-employment physical is: to determine whether you are fit to fulfill the essential functions of the job. For most jobs, HIV is irrelevant to your ability to fulfill essential functions. If there is a blood draw involved, remember that you cannot legally be tested for HIV without your written permission. If you don't see a reference to an HIV test on the papers you're asked to sign, you cannot legally be tested for HIV and you cannot be denied the job you've been offered because of the result.

Also, there's this: the employer is paying for this physical, and wants only the basic, job-related information. It's not a complete physical. They want to know if you're going to fall over in a dead faint in your first six months while operating a forklift.

Usually, the most difficult part of the physical is a piece of paper on which you're asked to list your medications. If you receive this and are asked to complete it: I advise people to tell the examiner that they take a couple of meds, but they think of them as the little blue pill and the little green pill, and don't recall their pharmaceutical names, so they'll ask their physician to fill it out and will return it in a timely way. Then you hotfoot it to your physician with the request to enter onto the form the fact that you are being treated for a viral infection that is under control, and the meds will not interfere with the essential function of your job--that is, they won't make you sleepy if you operate heavy machinery, etc. That statement by the physician does not list the meds, but it gives the employer what the employer wants: off the hook. Now the doc is on the hook, so the form gets filed in your medical file and you start your job.

That's how it goes 90% of the time. If you are suddenly denied a job after the pre-employment physical, you have the right to ask on what basis, and they owe you a good answer. At that point, unless they come up with an ironclad reason not to hire you--the entire facility burned down and everyone in it lost their jobs, for example--I recommend an attorney.

But I"ll bet you won't need one. Best of luck to you! And congratulations on the job offer.

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