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is a job pre-placement health history legal?
Jun 16, 2014

Hello, I am hiv+, taking Stribild and enjoying generally good health so far. I was recently offered an office job at a hospital. I was then told I would need to fill out a "pre-placement health history" form, which included questions asking if I was immunocompromised and if I had any sexually transmitted diseases. The strangest questions was about "unusual penile discharge". It also asked to list all medications I am taking. I've never been required to submit any kind of form like this before for any previous employers. I feel like my personal and private medical history is my business only. Is this legal and if so, how? I decided to decline the job offer based on this form.

Response from Mr. Chambers

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the law is very clear. While a prospective employer may require a pre-employment physical exam before actually hiring you, they can NOT require the exam until they have given you a formal job offer. The only reason they can rescind that job offer is if the exam shows you are unable to perform the job.

Whether or not there is a job offer on the table, I would resist completing the questionnaire. If there is no job offer, you can refuse on the grounds that it is a violation of ADA. If there is an offer, you should still question it since under ADA they can only ask whether or not you are able to do the job duties, and that is all that should come out of an actual physical exam. That questionnaire doesn't sound like that's what it does. I realize that, by raising this issue, they probably will no longer consider you for the job, but, if the employer is the kind that would discriminate, that's probably not a place you should or would want to work.

I wish you the best, Jacques



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