Employers naturally have concerns over employee use of prescription or over-the-counter medications that could affect safe or effective performance of job duties. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act restricts companies’ ability to impose blanket policies mandating disclosure of such medication use. Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against a Dallas employer over its policy requiring employees to disclose use of any medications that could affect job performance.
In its complaint, the EEOC alleges that the policy constitutes an impermissible medical inquiry under the ADA. According to that law, employers can only inquire about employee medication use when they have a business necessity for asking the questions. In this case, the agency contends that a blanket policy tied to speculative impacts on job performance does not meet this business necessity test.
Employers concerned about possible effects from employee medication use should document the specific reasons behind such concerns. When the job involves safety-sensitive functions, the bar for demonstrating business necessity may be fairly low. In all cases, employers should avoid broad policies intended to require employees to provide medical information.