How Pre-Recruitment Medical Tests Infringes on Candidates’ Rights

How Pre-Recruitment  Medical Tests Infringes on Candidates’ Rights

Many employers demand their employees’ fitness test results before their recruitment processes are completed. This is found in both private and public sectors and it is usually requested from all candidates irrespective of who they are or where they come from. In most cases, candidates that go for medical tests are sure of receiving their appointment letters because it is the last stage in recruitment procedures (even though it is never publicised). But that is not always the case because a question mark on the candidate’s medical result can cost him the job. This explains why some people do not hear from recruiters again after undergoing medical examinations.

There is nothing wrong with an employer trying to make sure that he recruited employees that are fit to work. Employing a person, whose health condition can prevent from putting his best, does not only put a strain on the company but also on the other staff members. For instance, I have found myself in an organisation, where a colleague always visited the hospital every other week for medical check-ups. To date, the nature of her illness is unknown because the management did its best to conceal that from us. But we were unhappy because of the strain caused by this person’s periodic absence. At a stage, many of us began to feel cheated because we were not given the same “freehand” given to this colleague. This will be the same case with other organisations, where a staff member could not do his or her job because of ill-health. So, employers should not be blamed for seeking fit staff.

However, there are some recruitment practices, regarding medical examinations, which should be discouraged. The first one, as implied above, is that some hospitals send candidates’ medical reports directly to recruiters. This is made worse by the fact that these recruiters may not contact the candidates to discuss their medical reports. They just contact the candidates with ‘good’ medical results and ignore the others. This means that recruiters have access to applicants’ medical history even though they are not medical practitioners. To crown it all, they leave candidates in the dark, especially those whose results deemed unfit to work. I know that these recruiters may argue that they wanted to prevent mutilations and forgery by asking hospitals to send results directly to them, but they can still find a way around it if they want to. From what I understand, people’s medical conditions are private. But because there is job scarcity, recruiters have field days intruding into these privacies.

Another thing that should be addressed is the content of the medical report. Some employers demand details of medical results, which I believe should not be so. For instance, some of them request candidates’ HIV, hepatitis, and STI status. They may have reasons for this (especially if the candidates will have direct contact with minors and invalids if recruited) but demanding for all these, I believe, infringes on the candidates’ rights. These employers can demand these candidates to carry out these tests but they should not expect to see the results in detail. What should be given to them are summaries of the test results.

Employers should understand job seekers have the right to privacy. As recruiters search for the right employees, they should desist from infringing on applicants’ rights in the process. Requesting for applicants’ medical tests is necessary; however, care should be taken to avoid abusing it.

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