Can an Employer Require You to Disclose Medication You Take?

Because of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers face restrictions about when and how they can ask applicants or employees about medications and prescription drugs. You might at some point have to disclose information about your medications to your employer, but the employer must keep this information confidential and cannot discriminate against you because of it.

  1. Before Hiring

    • Employers are not allowed to ask you about medication you take, including prescription drugs, before offering you a job. The only health-related question an employer can legally ask before hiring is whether you will be able to fulfill the duties related to the job. These can include heavy lifting and operating machinery. If you take medication that prohibits you from driving or operating machinery, you must answer the question accurately but you do not need to disclose your specific medications.

    After Hiring

    • After an employer has hired you for a position, he can require a few additional pieces of information related to your health. However, these pieces of information must be required of all employees working the same type of job, not just those the employer suspects have medical problems or are on medication. For example, the employer's policy might require all employees to submit to a basic medical examination. Part of the exam might turn up a problem you are treating with medication, in which case you must disclose to the medical examiner that you are taking medication for that issue. In addition, the employer is allowed to directly ask what prescription drugs you take.

    With Drug Test

    • Employers can initiate drug tests employees must submit to and pass to keep their jobs. However, some prescription medications can lead to false positive results on drug tests. If you test positive and must prove that you are not taking illegal drugs, you must show your prescriptions for the specific medications you take to clear your name.

    Confidentiality

    • If you choose to or are required to disclose information about your medication to your employer, the employer must maintain strict confidentiality with this information. The employer can only share the information with people who need to know about it in the hiring process. In addition, the employer can share any work-related restrictions due to medication with your supervisors.

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