Texas Physical Exams: What you need to know

The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age. It does not specifically address the issue of physical exams. However, exam policies will likely violate the Act if they tend to screen out or otherwise disproportionately affect one of the protected groups. The Act covers all public employers and private employers with 15 or more employees (TX Labor Code Sec. 21.051 et seq.).
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The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from inquiring about the existence, nature, or extent of an applicant's disability until after the employer has extended a job offer. The offer may be conditioned on the results of a physical examination, but only if the examination is required for all prospective employees for the job.
An exam may be required of an employee if the employer must determine whether the employee can still perform the essential functions of the job. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that are subject to both the ADA and state law must comply with the ADA regarding physical examinations.
The Texas Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act prohibits all employers from testing for AIDS or HIV infection unless:
• Absence of the virus is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) reasonably related to the satisfactory performance of the duties of a job.
• There is reasonable cause for believing that a person with HIV or AIDS would be unable to perform the job safely and satisfactorily.
• There is no less discriminatory way to prove that the occupational qualification exists.
The Act requires that ...

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