Can a medical exemption be denied?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Can a medical exemption be denied?

I applied at an overnight delivery carrier and was hired as a driver.They have a clean shaven policy so I would have to shave my beard. However, my doctor has submitted a medical exemption because I have tinea barbae. He explained that patients who have this condition refrain from daily shaving because it can exacerbate the condition. Currently, the medical exemption is under review.

Asked on September 22, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

A medical exemption can be denied, if either it is not strictly necessarily or if it is necessary, but would prevent the employee from actually doing the job employers do not have to retain employees, for example, who can't do the work. But an employer must make a reasonable accommodation for medical conditions if such can be done while letting the employee do the work/job, and the request you describe would seem to fall under that category, since you can deliver while not shaving, and furthermore, can present a neat and clean appearance on behalf of the company they could legally, for example, require you to keep the beard short and neatly trimmed. Therefore, it is difficult to see how they could ultimately deny this, though they are allowed some time to review it they don't have to give you an immediate answer. If this accommodation is denied, you would seem to have grounds to file a complaint with the federal EEOC or your state equal/civil rights agency.

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