Can an employer request to know what medications you are taking and if they impair your ability to drive?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer request to know what medications you are taking and if they impair your ability to drive?

Recently, I received a text message from my manager saying they were concerned about the medications I was taking and asked for a doctor’s note stating that they do not impair my ability to drive. I complied with their request and provided the letter for them. They did not provide information as to what they observed, witnesses, dates, times or anything at all to me. The medications I take do not impair my ability to drive and I believe there is a violation taking place here. I later found out my manager was saying that they believed I was

Asked on March 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Typically, an employer may not ask an employee about any prescription medications that they are taking. To do so, would constitute requiring the worker to provide information about a disability, thereby violating the terms of the ADA. That having been said, as a general rule although an employer cannot ask what prescriptions an employee is taking, it may be able to ask an employee about prescription medications if those medications can impair the employee’s ability to work or if it put others in danger. So, for example, if your job requires that you drive then in such a case you can be asked to divulge any prescriptions that you take (however, those in administrative positions cannot be asked to disclose prescription medications). Failure to disclose such information when asked, may be grounds for termination.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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