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Pre-employment health questionnaires

01 Oct 2010

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for employers to ask job applicants general questions about their health or a disability prior to making a job offer, except in certain circumstances.

Employers can ask health-related questions:

  • to help decide if reasonable adjustments are needed in the selection process,
  • to determine if an applicant can carry out a function that is essential to the job such as heavy lifting, or
  • for diversity monitoring purposes.

Once a job has been offered and accepted employers may, if they wish, ask additional medical questions. If a condition is revealed that causes the candidate problems in performing the job then reasonable adjustments must be considered. Any adjustments must be very carefully considered. If there are no reasonable adjustments then the job offer may need to be withdrawn. If none are viable the employer must have an objective business reason to withdraw the role.

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