Physical Examinations

Physical examinations can be used to screen out applicants when the results show that job performance would be degraded. For example, jobs that require a great deal of physical force may require job applicants to receive back X-rays, while desk jobs may not.

Drug Testing

Drug testing for employees and job applicants has increased 250 percent since 1987. Perhaps because of increased testing and related educational programs, drug use among workers and job seekers has declined in recent years.

A handful of states presently outlaw drug testing for private sector businesses. Many government workers, on the other hand, must submit to random or periodic drug testing as mandated by the Federal Workplace Drug Testing Regulations.

Just about all drug testing is done by urinalysis which, when performed under the guidelines established by the Federal Workplace Drug Testing Regulations, offers a 99.9 percent accuracy rate.

Polygraph Tests

With the passage of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, employers are restricting their use of polygraph or lie detector tests. The law virtually outlaws the use of lie detectors for employment, and covers all private employers in interstate commerce. Supporters of the law claim that the tests are accurate only two-thirds of the time and are far more likely to be inaccurate for honest employees. The new law restricts pre employment screening and random use of the device.

The Employee Polygraph Protection Act allows polygraph tests to be used with jobs in security or that involve handling drugs, or in investigating a theft or other suspected crime. Before an employee can be required to take such a test as part of an investigation of an employment-related crime, however, the employee must be given a written notice saying that he or she is a suspect.


Employees with disabilities, including AIDS and HIV infection, are protected by law from discrimination in employment. Often, HIV testing of new or present employees for employment is prohibited by human rights laws. In the very few areas of employment where testing may be allowed, an employee may never be singled out for testing; tests must be required of all employees or none.

Because of the many sensitive legal issues involving privacy and discrimination, it is advised that employers develop a comprehensive "AIDS in the Workplace" policy, and should not require HIV screening as part of pre-employment or general workplace physical examination.

More information on drug testing and program management can be obtained by getting in touch with these firms:

Drug Intervention Services of America
11200 Westheimer, Suite 630
Houston, Texas 77042
(713) 972-3472

National MRO
P.O. Box 261426
Lakewood, CO 80226
(303) 238-2000

Substance Abuse Management
2 Plaza E.
330 E. Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 1075
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 273-7264

University Services
Arsenal Business Center
5301 Tacony Street, Building 4
Philadelphia, PA 19137
(215) 743-4200

Weber Consultants Unlimited
2331-D2 E. Avenue S., Suite 198
Palmdale, CA 93550
(805) 294-5033