Preemployment Screening: No More Test Stress

Article excerpt

A set of guidelines released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarifies the definition of psychological testing, ending the confusion about when a psychological test can be given. The guidelines, Preemployment Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state that psychological preemployment screening exams do not fall within the ADA's statutory definition of medical examination and therefore can be given at any time during the hiring process.

Previous EEOC documents pertaining to the topic were ambiguous about the definition of a medical examination, causing concern among security professionals about when to conduct psychological screening exams. If a psychological screening is considered a medical exam, it may not be given until after an offer of employment has been made. If the screening is not considered a medical exam, it may be conducted at any time.

Under the guidelines, a medical examination is defined as a procedure or test that seeks information about the existence, nature, or severity of an individual's physical or mental impairment. A medical exam is also designed to seek information regarding an individual's physical or psychological health. (EEOC Notice Number 915.002, p. 28.)

The new guidelines also provide the following as definitions of a medical exam:

* A medical exam is a procedure that is administered by a health professional, including a psychologist.

* Medical exam results are interpreted by a health care professional.

* A medical exam is invasive - it requires the drawing of blood, urine, or breath - or it would normally take place in a medical setting and be administered using medical equipment.

* A medical exam measures physiological or psychological responses of a test taker, as opposed to simply measuring performance on a task. …