Counseling Refused by Employee Could be Considered ‘Medical Examination’ Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted by on Sep 6, 2012

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit have ruled that the psychological counseling that an ambulance agency ordered an EMT to undertake could be considered a “medical examination” under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  This overturned the district court ruling that ‘counseling alone’ did not constitute a medical examination under the ADA.  The Court of Appeals found “little insight” in the legislative history of the Act, and turned to the EEOC to determine the scope of “medical examination.”  The EEOC provides seven factors to determine whether an exam qualifies, stating that any one of the factors could be enough.  Among these factors are invasiveness, the intent of the employer to uncover illness, and whether the test is administered or interpreted by a medical professional.  Because the agency was concerned about the EMT’s depression, and the EMT’s supervisor instructed her to go to counseling to ‘discuss issues related to her mental health,’ the Court of Appeals ruled that a reasonable jury could find that the request was a violation under the ADA.