FAQ's about Medical Examinations under the ADA

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1. What happens if an employee refuses to participate in a requested medical examination?

It depends on why the employee was asked to participate in a medical examination.  If the employee's job performance is suffering and a medical condition is suspected but the employee refuses the exam, discipline should focus on the employee's performance in accordance with company policy.

2. What happens if an employee requests a reasonable accommodation but provides insufficent documentation from his/her doctor to substantiate the ADA disability?

The employer should explain why the information is insufficient and give the employee a chance to provide the missing information.  The employer can contact the employee's doctor (with the employee's consent) to obtain the missing information.  As a last resort, the employer can require the employee go to a health care provider of the employer's choice.

Documentation may be insufficient when—

  • The health care professional does not have the expertise to analyze the employee's condition.
  • The documentation does not specify the limitations due to the disability.
  • Any other factors that indicate the information is fraudulent.

Employers are not required to provide a reasonable accommodation until they have sufficient documentation.

3.  What happens if an employer believes an employee is a direct threat to other employees and to the organization?

Because the employer is responsible for assessing whether or not an employee poses a direct threat, the employer can have the employee examined by its own health care provider.  The health care provider selected should have an expertise in the employee's suspected problem and should be able to provide current information.