If you're confused about when you can ask an employee about his medical condition or medical tests, new guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) tries to clear up that controversial question.
The guidelines examine specific scenarios on when employers can obtain medical information on current employees. Previous guidelines covered pre- and post-offer disability-related inquiries and medical exams.
Bottom line: If an employee is having no, it's usually inappropriate to ask about his medical condition.
The EEOC spells out what is and isn't a disability-related inquiry. For example, asking generally about an employee's well being ("How are you?") is not restricted by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The guidelines also explain how an employer must treat employees applying for a different job with the same company. EEOC's position: Treat them as you would any applicant, which includes restrictions on asking questions and requiring exams before making a conditional offer for the position.
To read the document, Enforcement Guidance: Disability-Related Inquires and Medical Examinations of Employees Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, go to www.eeoc.gov/docs/guidance-inquiries.html.
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