What can I legally be asked at a pre-employment medical?

Many jobs require a pre-employment medical. These are supposed to ensure that the prospective applicant can physically carry out the job that they are applying for. Applicants may be nervous about revealing their medical history to a prospective employer but they are legally protected in a range of ways during a pre-employment medical. 

What can I be asked?

You can be asked to provide evidence that you are generally fit and can fulfil any of the requirements of the job. This can include proof that you have enough physical fitness and strength to perform physical tasks, as well as questions on your history of mental health if this is a job that may have mental stresses (such as working on deployment in the military). You can also be asked to provide a drug and alcohol test if the job requires a high level of sobriety, such as people that drive heavy machinery or people who have a high level of moral responsibility such as people who work with children in a trusted position. 

You can also be asked about any previous injuries that you may have sustained at previous jobs. You may be asked to carry out specific tests such as hearing tests if you have worked in an environment previously that may have contributed to hearing loss or blood tests that show the build-up of certain contaminants such as blood lead levels. This can allow your current employer to be able to accurately gauge whether their workplace has contributed to ill health, and if so to what extent. 

What can't I be asked?

You cannot be asked about a range of issues that are covered by anti-discrimination practices such as pregnancy, pre-existing medical conditions, sexuality or religion. You also cannot be asked about unrelated medical history that does not relate to the job at hand. 

What rights do I have?

You can ask to see the results of any testing that you have to see what is being forwarded to the company. If you are asked any questions that contravene any of your legal rights you can refuse to answer them. 

Having a pre-employment medical is a normal part of applying for certain jobs. The doctors are only looking for medical issues that relate to the job that you are applying for and will not look at other medical information that is not relevant to the job that you are applying for. For more information, contact companies like Travellers Medical Services.