Arizona Physical Exams laws & HR compliance analysis

Arizona Physical Exams: What you need to know

The Arizona Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of disability. The Act covers employers with 15 or more employees (AZ Rev. Stat. Sec. 41-1461).
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The state Civil Rights Act 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 is a lifting test for a job that requires heavy lifting.
If physiological or biological responses are measured, the test is considered a medical exam prohibited under state law and the ADA unless an offer of employment has been made. 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 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of an employee who claimed her employer's fitness test was a medical examination that violated the ADA (Indergard v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 582 F.3d 1049 (9th Cir. 2009)). The employer in this case required the employee to undergo a physical capacity evaluation before she returned to work following knee surgery. The test included muscle strength tests during which measurements were taken of the employee's heart rate, breathing, and aerobic fitness. The employer claimed the test was not a medical exam barred by the ADA. The court considered the factors listed in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's enforcement guidance on medical exams in deciding that the measurement of the ...

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