Pre-employment medicals

Pre-employment medicals


Some employers use pre-employment medicals when choosing workers. This checks that applicants are physically and mentally able to do the job without putting yourself or others at risk.

These tests are done by medical professionals, chosen and paid for by the employer. They should be properly designed and carried out to test the ability to do to the job, not to find out about irrelevant medical conditions or past compensation claims.

As an Applicant

If you are asked to do a medical, you will probably be asked about your injuries and health at the pre-employment medical. If you do have an injury or illness, think about how you will discuss it. If you believe previous or current health issues or work injuries won’t affect your ability to do the job, state this clearly. It is against the law for an employer to reject you because of an injury or illness that won’t prevent you from doing the job safely.

Pre-employment medicals are usually done after the interview stage. If the pre-employment medical shows that you can’t safely do the job, the employer can choose not to employ you. But if the employer misuses the results, it could be disability discrimination.

People with a disability are protected from being unfairly treated when looking for work. If you think you have been discriminated against as a result of a pre-employment medical, contact us for advice.

As an  Employer

If you want to use pre-employment medicals, you should:

  • Give the doctor information about the work involved in the job.
  • Make sure the standard is no different from that required of existing staff.
  • Ask if you could reasonably find ways to employ a person with a medical condition or disability, or if this would create an unjustifiable hardship for your business.
  • Advise applicants of the outcome and maintain strict confidentiality.
  • Document your decisions and your reasons for them.
  • Avoid assuming what people with disabilities or past medical conditions can or can't do.

It is against the law to reject an applicant because of a disability, injury or illness that won't prevent them from doing the job safely. It is also against the law to vary the terms or conditions of a person's employment because of a disability, injury or illness that does not interfere with their ability to do the job.

If the doctor conducting a pre-employment medical discriminates unfairly, both you and the doctor may be held responsible.