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Executive Physical and HIV Status
Oct 12, 2015

Hello, I am up for an Executive position and I am told that if offered the position I will be required to take an Executive Physical. Will the company be notified of my HIV Status? I would assume that I will be forced to sign a release of information when I take the physical and if I don't then I won't get the position. I'm freaking out a bit and feeling a bit violated. I could be totally wrong. I have never had one of these physicals. Thanks

Response from Mr. Chambers

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are prohibited from requiring a pre-employment physical exam unless a firm offer has been made. Although this is for a promotion rather than a new hire, it falls under the same rule.

Under the law, the purpose of the exam is only to see whether or not you are capable of performing the job duties of the position. The doctor should tell the employer nothing more than that, whether or not you are capable of performing the job. Your HIV status should have nothing to do with that.

However, in the real world, many employers (and their doctore) do not fully understand that requirement, so you may need to politely remind the doctor of that.

Once the job offer is made (get it in writing if possible), take the exam. While with the doctor, ask what information is given to the employer. Will your HIV status be disclosed? Will your medications be given? If you don't feel the answers are clear, don't argue, but be confused: "I thought under ADA, all you could tell my employer is whether I am capable of performing the job duties. My status or medications do not in any way impede my abilities." The fact you know the law should give him/her pause.

If they ask you to sign a release, which they should not, either refuse to sign it or rewrite it so only your ability to perform the required job duties can be released.

Finally, do NOT attempt to lie or misrepresent your status. You must be truthful. I know of instances where the person lied, and was terminated for that reason, which is legal.

Good luck and congratulations on the promotion, Jacques


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