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Is Your Company’s Pre-Employment Assessment Test Legal?

Is Your Company’s Pre-Employment Assessment Test Legal?

Updated June 9, 2021 Originally published December 29, 2015
Julian Alexander

 Is Your Company’s Pre-Employment Assessment Test Legal? http://www.onsite-physio.com/workplace-wellness-programs/is-your-companys-pre-employment-assessment-test-legal @onsitephysio

Government regulations affect almost every aspect of your company’s business operations. Many of the most stringent laws govern how you deal with potential and existing employees. As an HR or worker’s comp professional, you have to know the rules. That includes hiring procedures that must comply with ADA and EEOC guidelines. Is your company’s pre-employment assessment test legal?

The purpose of pre-employment assessment is to confirm a candidate can physically perform essential job tasks, with or without accommodation. To be effective, the test has to reflect actual job functions. This is one reason it’s so important to create job descriptions that accurately describe what the job entails.  

You may use physical examinations such as pre-employment assessments only after you have made a job offer. Your final decision to hire the candidate may be contingent on their successful completion of the assessment. That’s why it’s often referred to as post-offer employment testing, or POET. Aside from the timing, you must also meet other legal criteria.

  • Every candidate in the job category must be required to take the assessment
  • You have to keep medical histories separate from other employment-related documents, because they are confidential
  • You may not use POET assessment results as an excuse to violate ADA discrimination rules

When Can You Withdraw Your Contingent Offer?

In certain circumstances, you have the right to rescind your job offer based on POET results. Your reason must be:

  • Job-related, or
  • Consistent with business needs, or
  • Critical in order to avoid a direct threat to safety or health

ADA guidelines require employers to make reasonable accommodation for employees. However, you may withdraw your job offer if:

  • You cannot make a reasonable accommodation that would enable the candidate to perform the job safely, or
  • Providing such accommodation would be an undue hardship for your company

POET Provides Many Benefits

Make no mistake. Job-specific pre-employment testing can help your company avoid hiring mistakes. But it can do much more. One of your HR responsibilities is to treat candidates equally. POET helps you do that because it’s objective and fair. Evaluating relevant skills and traits allows you to make better-informed hiring decisions. Impartial testing also reinforces the legality of your decision-making procedures. It might even help you avoid employment-related lawsuits in the first place.

When you use legally-compliant pre-employment tests, you’re protecting candidates, too. An individual may think he or she is up to the job, then discover they are not. Certainly that will be disappointing. But it’s better than risking on-the-job injury.  

All these things give you greater peace of mind. You know you’re doing the right thing, for your company and for prospective employees.

Do you need a refresher on compliance details for pre-employment exams? The EEOC’s ADA Enforcement Guidance publication contains everything you need to know. EEOC regulations are based on several federal laws that govern hiring practices. These laws are collectively known as the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

No company wants to run afoul of hiring-related laws. You want to do right by your employees, and the rules are there to protect them. You also want to avoid costs and other damage caused by failure to comply. On-the-job injuries and hiring-related legal liability issues can be expensive and time-consuming. And they distract you from more positive work.  

Make sure your company’s pre-employment assessment test is job-specific and meets legal guidelines. That way, you can enjoy the many benefits of POET, worry-free.

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