Code of good practice on disability in the workplace in South Africa
8. MEDICAL AND PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING
8.1. Medical testing
8.1.1. Tests must be relevant and appropriate to the kind of work and the necessary fitness criteria for the job, the workplace and its hazards, and necessary to the employer’s business.
8.1.2. Employers should establish that tests do not unfairly exclude and are not biased in how or when they are applied, assessed or interpreted.
8.1.3. Tests to establish the health of an applicant or employee should be distinguished from tests that assess the ability to perform essential job functions or duties.
8.1.4. Health testing should therefore only be carried out after an employer has established that the person is in fact competent to perform the essential job functions or duties and after a job offer has been made. The same applies to medical testing for admission to membership of an employee benefit scheme.
8.1.5. An employer who requires a person to undergo any medical, health screening or safety test must bear the costs of the test.
8.2. Testing after illness or injury
8.2.1. If an employee has been ill or injured and it appears that the employee is not able to perform the job, the employer may require the employee to agree to a functional determination of disability.
8.2.2. Such medical or other appropriate tests shall be to assess if the employee can safely perform the job or to identify reasonable accommodation for the employee.
8.3. Health screening and safety
8.3.1. Employers are obliged to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of employees in South Africa.
8.3.2. An employer should not employ a person if the employer can demonstrate that a person with a disability would represent an actual direct risk of substantial harm to his or her own or other people’s safety, which could not be eliminated or reduced by applicable reasonable accommodation.
8.3.3. An employer may or need not retain an employee with a withdraw a conditional job offer disability if objective assessment shows that even with reasonable accommodation, the work would expose the employee would expose others to substantial health risk and that there is no reasonable accommodation to mitigate that risk.
8.4 Pre-benefit medical examinations
8.4.1. Employees may be required to submit to medical examination or tests before becoming members of employee benefit schemes that are offered within the employment relationship.
8.4.2. The purpose of these examinations is to assess a person’s suitability for membership of a benefit scheme and is not relevant to a person’s capability to perform the inherent requirements of the job.
8.4.3. Therefore an employer may not refuse to recruit, train, promote or otherwise prejudice any person only because that person has been refused membership of a benefit scheme.
9.1. Placement involves the orientation and initial training a new employee.
9.2. New employees with disabilities must be treated equally, subject to reasonable accommodation, to employees who do not have disabilities.
9.3. Orientation and initial training should be accessible, responsive to and able to accommodate the needs of employees who have disabilities.