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Arkansas Physical Exams: 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 Stat. Sec. 16-123-102 et seq.). Employers with nine or more employees are covered by the Act. Generally, compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will help employers avoid claims of discrimination based on disability.
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The ADA limits an employer's ability to give physical examinations to both applicants and employees. The Act covers employers with 15 or more employees.
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 to 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
When basing an employment decision on the results of a physical exam, employers should be sure to carefully review the exam results and the requirements of the job in question before making a decision. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a job applicant after a review of the evidence showed that the employer required the applicant to take a physical exam, marked the exam results as passing, and then marked the results as not passing before it decided not to hire him (Chalfant v. Titan Distribution, Inc., 475 F.3d 982 (8th Cir. 2007)). In this case, the ...

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