Arkansas Personnel/ HR Associations: What you need to know

The Arkansas Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, or disability, but it does not specifically address the issue of physical examinations (AR Statutes Sec. 16-123-102 et seq.). However, employers will likely violate the Act if exam policies screen out a particular group or otherwise discriminate on the basis of one of these protected characteristics. The Act covers all employers with nine or more employees.
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The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) limits an employer's ability to give physical examinations to both applicants and employees. The Act covers employers with 15 or more employees. Arkansas employers that are subject to both the ADA and state law must comply with the ADA regarding physical examinations.
Applicants. Applicants may not be given an exam before a job offer has been made. However, once an offer has been made and before an applicant begins work, an employer may require an exam and condition the job offer on the exam results, provided:
· The exam is given to all applicants who have been offered jobs in the same job category, regardless of disability.
· Information gathered during the exam is maintained on separate forms and in separate files, and treated as a confidential medical record.
Employees. Employees may be given a medical exam if it serves a legitimate business purpose. For example, an employer can require an exam when there is a need to determine whether an employee is still able to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

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