May an employer require preemployment screening such as eye exams?

Author: Linda Segall, Segall Enterprises

Some preemployment screening is permitted under the ADA, but employers must be mindful not to turn these screenings into medical exams. Permissible screenings that should not constitute medical exams if done correctly include psychological tests, vision tests and physical fitness tests.

  • Psychological Tests - Employers may conduct psychological tests that are designed to measure tastes and habits, such as personality traits, propensity for drug use, attitude, regular response to stress, a tendency toward violence, as well as other indicators of disposition. However, they may not ask about medical and mental health conditions.
  • Vision Tests - Employers may test an applicant's ability to read labels or distinguish objects. However, employers may not require an applicant to read an eye chart or to be examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist before being offered a job.
  • Physical Fitness Tests - Pre-offer physical agility and physical fitness tests are permissible so long as they do not measure physiological or biological responses. Any such test must be job-related and must be given to all applicants in a job category.