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Independent exam for safety’s sake doesn’t violate ADA

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

Some employees believe that an em­­ployer can’t legally request a medical exam. They’re wrong.

Recent case: Patrick Rawlins was hired as a bus driver for New Jersey Transit and had to undergo training and pass a vision test. He failed twice, and blamed it on faulty testing equipment. However, he passed a test at his op­­tometrist’s office.

But a supervisor, noting that Rawlins still had trouble reading distant signs, demanded retesting. When Rawlins refused, he was terminated.

Rawlins sued, alleging that New Jer­­sey Transit violated the ADA by ordering the exam, arguing that it was treating him as if he were disabled.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, concluding that the employer had reasonable grounds to request the exam based on the supervisor’s observations. (Rawlins v. New Jersey Transit, No. 10-4793, 3rd Cir., 2011)

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