Is it legal for an employer to require an STD check and physical for a prep cook position?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for an employer to require an STD check and physical for a prep cook position?

Secondly, can they withhold your check for not getting it done within 3 days? And Lastly, if they make it a point to bring up sexual harrassment multiple times over the training period and the manager pulls her blouse down as an example, isn’t that sexual harrassment?

Asked on December 18, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

1) As you  have found out, withholding the check is illegal.
2) Generally, an employer may require a physical if it is in any way reasonably related to the job: so a prep cook could be required to prove he/she is healthy and not carrying one of a number of communicable conditions or illnesses which he/she could potentially pass on to customers.
3) However, unless you are doing something *very* odd with the food, the only STD that might seem to possibly be relevant would be HIV/AIDS, since if you cut yourself, in theory, in very unlikely but not entirely impossible, circumstances, the illness could be passed by your blood. Otherwise, though, STDs are not relavant to the job and/or customer (or coworker) safety, and focusing on STDs could itself be a form of sexual harassment (since it's bringing up a sexualized situation).
4) Your manager pulling down her blouse is very likely sexual harassment, as you suspect. 

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