What questions can my employer ask about my health?
4 Apr 2023
Applying for a job can be stressful at the best of times, but worrying about telling your employer that you have a disability can add extra stress.
If you're worried about what questions your employer can ask about your physical and mental health, here are a few examples of what can and can’t be asked.
Can employers ask questions about my health during the interview process?
Employers can not ask about a candidate's health during the interview process, unless it’s to see whether any reasonable adjustments need to be made during both the interview process and potential future employment.
Questions can also be asked relating to how you can carry out parts of the job you are interviewing for, but only after any reasonable adjustments have been made by the employer for your interview.
Can employers ask about my health once I'm employed?
Once you’re employed by a company or offered employment there are certain questions your employer can ask you for monitoring processes. For example, employers can ask:
- For a fit note or proof of sickness following a period of absence.
- For a medical record if needed to comply with the law - medical records can be requested if they’re needed to assess whether an employee is fit to carry out their work, to prevent health and safety risks, and to prevent disability discrimination.
- Questions about general employees' wellbeing.
Employers have a responsibility to review absence history and discuss any problems with their employees in case any reasonable adjustments can be of benefit.
Can employers offer conditional job offers depending on passing health checks?
The Equality Act 2010
stops employers from only offering jobs once people have passed a medical exam or health questionnaire.
However employers can offer conditional jobs subject to the applicant passing a medical exam or health questionnaire.
This is due to employers originally making the conditional offer based on how you performed in your interview and not based around your medical conditions.
Do I have to tell my employer about my disability?
There are no rules that state you have to disclose your disability to your employer. Whether you have recently developed a disability or have had a disability before being in your current role, you may worry about employers questioning whether you can still do your job.
If you decide to tell your employer about your disability then you are likely to get more support from your employer, allowing them to make any reasonable adjustments that can help make it easier for you to undertake your job role.
If you want to tell your employer about your disability, then you should consider:
- How and when to tell your employer - if you wish you can get a note from your doctor.
- How much information do you want to give - you don’t have to give full details, instead you can just let the employer know how it affects your job.
- Who you want to share this information with - you may want to tell HR about your disability but not your supervisor. At the end of the day it’s completely your choice and you should make these decisions based on what works best for you.
How does the law protect me?
The 2010 Equality Act
protects those with disabilities and in employment from being discriminated against by their employer.
This includes making it unlawful for employers to discriminate in their terms and conditions, benefits, opportunities for promotion, performance reviews, handling of absence, pay, training and development and termination of employment.
Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments
Employers have a responsibility to help remove boundaries in the workplace if you have a disability. These may include where appropriate:
- Changing your work pattern, hours or responsibilities
- Counting and recording disability related absences separately to sick leave
- Make the office more accessible, for example installing a ramp or moving your desk to make it easier to get to
- Giving you an allocated parking space
Support with mental health at work
We all know that health conditions can take tolls on our mental health, and subsequently have an impact on our work. If you find this happens to you then Able Futures
is designed to help you. If you’re 16 years or older, and at work, or you’re on an apprenticeship, you may be eligible for free confidential guidance and support.
The programme can also support you if you’re struggling with issues such as anxiety, stress or depression and provides nine months of support with no cost.
Find a job with Ingeus
If you have a health condition or a disability or have been unemployed for a long time, the Work and Health Programme (WHP) could help you find a job.
We work with a range of health professionals, employment specialists and local community organisations to help you overcome any challenges and find the right job at the right time.
Ingeus delivers the Work and Health Programme in the North West, Greater Manchester, and Central London. If you are looking for work, find out how your local programme can help.