Employers Must Pay for Post-Offer Medical Exams

November 12, 2018

According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, if an employer requires an applicant to obtain a post-offer medical exam, the employer must pay for the exam. In a recent case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the employer made an offer of employment to the applicant, conditioned on a post-offer medical evaluation. Because of a history of back issues, the applicant was required to obtain an MRI. He told the employer he could not afford to get one, and the the job offer was rescinded. The court acknowledged that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) permits follow-up medical testing where such testing is “medically related to previously-obtained medical information,” but noted that the statute was silent as to who pays for the testing. The court found that imposing the costs on individuals would contravene the anti-discrimination provisions and the policy purposes of the ADA, by forcing them “to face costly barriers to employment.” Therefore, according to the court, employers must bear the costs of any such testing. We recommend all employers review policies and practices, and that SESCO be contacted if questions remain regarding ADA compliance.