medical tests

An increasing number of Australian organisations use medical screening as part of the selection process. Designing a pre-employment medical test requires a thorough analysis of what the job entails and a careful matching of medical tests or interventions to assess the required physical attributes.

To ensure reliable, lawful results, a high level of expertise is required. Take great care when using pre-employment medical tests: they must not discriminate.

Employers should be aware that inappropriate or poorly conducted medical screening could breach anti-discrimination, privacy and/or work, health and safety laws and regulations that may differ from state to territory.

For the pre-employment medical test to be non-discriminatory, it should:

relate specifically to the particular duties and responsibilities of the job

accurately state the specific physical attributes required for the job (which should be reasonable)

consider ways of accommodating people without the required attributes (insofar as these do not cause unjustifiable hardship for the employer)

make any assessment of a person’s ability to perform after any adjustment has been made

assess only on current ability and not attempt to predict any future deterioration (the pre-employment medical assessment, however, can be used at a later stage to determine any health deterioration, e.g. to determine hearing loss in relation to an industrial deafness claim).

pre-employment drug testing

Employers should consider whether drug testing is an inherent requirement for carrying out a particular role, e.g. safe handling of any equipment. Remember that you are testing for suitability for a role, not for a candidate’s lifestyle. There are also medical conditions for which marijuana is prescribed and a candidate may not wish to disclose this. To make sure no discrimination takes place, you should consider the above guidelines before deciding on drug screening tests. 

Any test must be carried out in compliance with government legislation or best practice guidance notes. More information on specimen collection can be found at The Department of Health’s website.

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