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Avoid unfair discrimination claims when doing medical tests on job applicants. Follow these two rules

by , 19 February 2015
The Employment Equity Act (EE Act) is very clear about what you can and can't do when recruiting. And you must stick to its conditions to avoid the dreaded R2.7 million fine. Or unfair discrimination claims from applicants.

When it comes to doing medical tests on job candidates during the recruitment process, the Act requires you to follow two simple rules.

Read on to find out what they are so you can comply and avoid unfair discrimination claims or hefty fines.

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Stick to these two rules when it comes to medical tests on job candidates and you won't face unfair discrimination claims or DoL fines

Rule 1: Only do medical tests on applicants if the law requires it.
Rule 2: Only perform medical tests you have a good reason.
With these two rules, the EE Act means only do medical tests when it's necessary. For example, you need medical facts because of the employment conditions or requirements of the job (Section 7 of the EE Act).

Basically, if an employee's health is important to the job, you can do medical tests. For example, you want to check if an applicant who wants to be a miner is physically fit. He doesn't have heart or lung problems and can work in a mineshaft.
If the medical tests don't meet these two rules, applicants can accuse you of unfair discrimination. And if the DoL finds out you're going against the EE Act, it will charge you penalties.
When it comes to medical tests, be careful and always ask yourself: Is the test relevant to the job and is there any law that requires me to conduct it?

Now that you know the two rules about medical tests, keep this important point in mind

The EE Act says 'you can only administer and use medical tests if you're qualified and registered with a professional body of South Africa. For example, the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA).'
So make sure the person you chose to do the tests for you comes from a reputable institution and has the qualifications.
PS: The amended EE Act doesn't only talk about medical tests. It also sets out requirements to stick to when you do HIV tests, psychometric tests and similar assessments. To find out what it says, check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service so you can comply. And avoid unfair discrimination claims and fines of up to R2.7 million.

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