The New York Human Rights Law prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of predisposing genetic characteristics or disability. The Law covers employers with four or more employees (NY Exec. Laws Sec. 290 et seq.).
Genetic testing. Employers are prohibited from administering a genetic test as a condition of employment, except where it can be shown that an employee or applicant with a specific genetic anomaly might be at an increased risk of disease as a result of working in that particular environment (NY Exec. Laws Sec. 296(19)).
The state law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allow physical agility and fitness tests at the application stage. A fitness test demonstrates the applicant’s ability to perform job-related functions and is not considered a medical examination under the ADA. An example of a fitness test would be a lifting test. This test would meet ADA guidelines for administration to applicants if the essential functions of the job involved heavy lifting.
If physiological or biological responses are measured, the test is considered a medical exam and would not be admissible to applicants under the ADA. If an applicant with a disability is screened out with a physical examination, the employer must be able to show that use of the test is job-related and consistent with business necessity.
The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees and specifically addresses the issue of medical exams.
Applicants. The ADA allows employers to give medical exams to both applicants and employees, but with certain restrictions. Applicants may not be given an ...