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Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority

Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority

The Sixth Circuit in Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority, the prior decision of the Sixth Circuit in this case saying that a medical exam occurred is something I discuss in  my book , discusses what it means for a medical exam/inquiry to be job-related and consistent with business necessity. Basically, what happened in this case, is that the plaintiff had an affair with a coworker and that affair went bad. There were then allegations about erratic behavior and without any information about poor job performance and without consulting a psychologist or other mental health professional, the employer decided to force the plaintiff into counseling. When she refused because she could not afford to pay for it, she was no longer scheduled for any additional shifts. As mentioned above, in the first case, the Sixth Circuit found that forcing someone into a medical examination, is a medical examination under the ADA. The question here was whether the medical examination was job-related and consistent with business necessity. With respect to that, the following bears noting:

1. With respect to job-related and consistent with business necessity, the burden of proof is on the employer.

2. In particular, job-related involves the employer showing that the employee requested an accommodation; the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job was impaired; or the employee posed a direct threat to himself or others.

3. With respect to business necessity, an employer is not going to be able to make a bare assertion that a medical examination was merely convenient or expedient. Instead, an employer that decides to require medical examination of an employee has to have a reasonable belief based on objective evidence that the employee’s behavior threatens a vital function of the business.

4. Whether a medical examination [in this case mental examination], is job-related and consistent with business necessity is governed by an objective standard (the reasonable prudent person).

5. The employer also argued that direct threat existed, but the court was having none of it because the assessment of whether an employee poses a direct threat has to be individualized to the employee’s abilities and job functions and based upon a reasonable medical judgment relying on the most current medical knowledge and/or on the best available objective evidence. In this case, the facts were such that there was no evidence in the record that the employer made any kind of medical judgment at all let alone one based upon a reasonable medical judgment. Further, evidence existed that the employer made the decision based on moral convictions rather than on medical concerns, which the court found very troubling.

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