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Alaska Physical Exams: What you need to know

The Alaska Human Rights Law prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, marital status, parenthood, age, or disability, but it does not specifically address the issue of physical examinations. However, employers will likely violate the Law if exam policies screen out a particular group or otherwise discriminate on the basis of one of these protected characteristics. The Law covers all public and private employers regardless of size, except for nonprofit educational, charitable, and religious associations (AK Stat. Sec. 18.80.010 et seq.).
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The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) limits an employer's right to require physical examinations for applicants and employees. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Medical job qualifications. Under a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, when an employer denies employment on the basis of a medical qualification standard, it must prove that the standard "fairly and accurately measures the individual's actual ability" to perform the essential functions of the job in question and that there is no reasonable accommodation that would allow the applicant to safely perform the job (Bates v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 511 F.3d 974 (9th Cir. 2007)). Details of the court's decision and practical tips for employers are available.
Preemptive employee exam. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the ADA's business necessity standard for requiring a medical examination may be met, and an employer may require a preemptive fitness-for-duty exam, if there is a genuine reason to doubt that an employee is still capable of doing his or her job (Brownfield v. City of Yakima,

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