Physical Testing At Work: When Is It Needed?
Employers often test potential new hires or candidates for a promotion. Skill assessment tests are the most common and serve to determine whether an applicant is able to handle the work involved in a certain position. Typing, language and computer tests are examples of tests falling into this category. However, some employers use physical tests as part of their hiring and selection process. This can leave certain applicants wondering whether an employer is allowed to perform such tests and why they’re done.
Physical testing is common for jobs that have certain physical requirements associated with them. Its purpose is simply to determine whether the applicant has the physical capabilities to perform regular tasks that the position would involve. For example, a construction job may require workers to carry bags of cement on a regular basis. It would therefore be reasonable for an employer to use a test that determines if a potential hire is strong enough to lift and carry objects of a certain weight in a safe manner and without too much difficulty.
Any physical tests have to be clearly related to the tasks an employee will encounter on the job. For example, if an employer requires a test which measures strength, it shouldn’t require a higher amount of physical strength to pass than what would be required to do the duties of the position.
Employers who use tests with standards that are set too high or who require physical testing for a position where it wouldn’t be justified may face legal action in the form of a discrimination lawsuit. This can happen if the test used results in a large number of job applicants from a protected class being eliminated or if it is considered discriminatory against applicants with disabilities who would otherwise be fully capable of doing the job.