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Can an employer request a job applicant undergo a pre-employment medical?

Can an employer request a job applicant undergo a pre-employment medical? (Last Updated On: April 3, 2018)

Can an employer request a job applicant undergo a pre-employment medical?

Our Specialist Says:

Yes – an employer can request an applicant undergo a pre-employment medical assessment before starting employment so long as the information sought relates to the inherent requirements of the role.

Inherent requirements are the essential duties of a role. Although these will vary depending on what the job is, they usually include:

  • the ability to perform tasks which are essential to perform a job to your standards;
  • the ability to work effectively in a team
  • the ability to work safely

To illustrate the inherent requirements of a role, let’s consider a truck driver.

The demands of driving can vary greatly depending on a range of factors, including those relating to the driver, the vehicle (eg. small truck or semi-trailer) and the type of driving (think whether the requirements would be different for short and long distance driving).

As a general rule, a driver is required to:

  • constantly use their senses to take into account the changing road environment
  • make decisions
  • manually operate a vehicle
  • stay alert

Given these factors, it follows that many body systems need to be functional in order to ensure safe and timely execution of the skills required for driving.

In the circumstances, it would be reasonable to test / screen for:

  • eyesight
  • hearing
  • musculoskeletal conditions (sprains, strains, degenerative conditions, injuries)
  • neurological conditions (epilepsy, dementia and cognitive impairment)
  • diabetes

If a condition is identified and the person with an impairment cannot perform the inherent requirements of a job, the employer must consider how the applicant could be provided with reasonable adjustments to help them do the job.

These adjustments might be as little as enabling them to wear glasses or hearing aids.

This is an extremely complex area. Should you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our advice team on 1300 651 415.

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