Magazine article HRMagazine

Ask a SHRM HR Knowledge Advisor

Magazine article HRMagazine

Ask a SHRM HR Knowledge Advisor

Article excerpt

One of our older employees needs to lift objects and climb ladders on the job but has vision and balance problems. Can we require him to undergo a medical exam?

Yes, if the worker is having difficulty performing his essential job functions and there is a legitimate business necessity for the exam. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also allows employers to require an assessment if the employee poses a direct threat to his own safety or that of others.

When determining whether a medical test is necessary, focus on whether the worker is performing his core tasks at an acceptable level compared to co-workers in similar occupations with comparable experience and job-related skills, without regard to age or perceived impairments.

If he is and you can't identify a direct safety threat, don't hold the worker to a higher standard based on his age alone-or to a lower one either, for that matter. You are not required to reduce your expectations of job performance because someone is older. …

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