The Americans with Disabilities Act puts limits on when an employer can ask about an employee’s health or conduct medical exams. Before extending a job offer, an employer may not ask whether an applicant has a disability. An employer may make pre-employment inquiries about whether an employee can perform job-related functions, however. After extending an offer of employment, an employer may require a medical examination as a condition of employment, if all new employees are required to take the exam and any information obtained as a result is maintained in separate medical files not accessible by the employee’s supervisor. During employment, employers may not conduct medical examinations or ask about an employee’s health unless the examination or inquiries are job-related and consistent with business necessity.

What is a “protected characteristic?”

Ohio and federal law prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of certain protected characteristics. Those characteristics include race, color, sex, religion, national origin, pregnancy, age, disability, genetic information, and military status.

Ohio and federal law also protect employees from retaliation when they make a good faith claim of employment discrimination or harassment, or who participate in an investigation into employment discrimination or harassment. Such complaints are known as “protected activity.”

What are my rights if my FMLA runs out?

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides only twelve weeks of job-protected leave in a given twelve-month period. If the employee still needs additional family medical leave, the FMLA does not protect the employee’s job. However, if the employee has a disability, the Americans with Disabilities Act might require the employer to provide some amount of additional leave as a reasonable accommodation, depending on the circumstances of the employee’s job and how much additional leave the employee will require.

If you have further ADA or FMLA-related questions, consider contacting the experienced attorneys at Bolek Besser Glesisus today.