Lessons Learned: The DOT Medical Exam in Hiring

Unreasonable beyond this point.

A large Indiana-based trucking firm was fined $200,000 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for its driver medical policies according to Crain Communications’ Business Insurance.

One error was having drivers undergo a DOT medical exam before making a *conditional offer of employment — a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

(*Conditional offer of employment refers to an offer of employment that is dependent on the completion of certain conditions or passing certain tests.)

When should an organization employing DOT regulated drivers make a conditional offer of employment?

Best transportation-industry driver hiring practices include:

  • administration of a road test, and
  • (if a CDL driver) receiving the results of the DOT pre-hire drug test/screen

before making a conditional job offer. Once a conditional job offer is made, a candidate can then be asked to undergo a DOT physical or medical examination.

A second error by this carrier was asking disability-related questions before a conditional job offer was made. Once a conditional job offer is made, Federal law permits medically-related inquiries of drivers, if the questions are (1.) job-related, and (2.) consistent with business-related necessity.

 . . .if a job applicant volunteers such information, the interviewer is not permitted to pursue inquiries about the nature of the medical condition or disability. Instead, the interview should be refocused so that emphasis is on the ability of the applicant to perform the job, not on the disability.

Motor carriers should also be cautious of any broad medical-clearance policies as: a requirement to notify the company of any contact with medical professionals, or deploying overly broad medical-release forms.


It is unlawful under the ADA to ask drivers questions about medical conditions and/or a disability before a conditional job offer is made. Steer clear of this topic in a pre-hire interview.

Medical records of all applicants and employees must be kept separate from all other personnel information.

Keep any employee medical records in a secure area (under lock and key) with limited access.

Be sure to review your policies, procedures and company manuals to comply with the ADA requirements.

To learn more, see The DOT Safety Audit Guide.

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