Medical Examinations and Harassment
Sometimes, a really thorough medical examination can be embarrassing and pretty uncomfortable, especially if the doctor requires the employee to undress for part of the examination. In a recent CCMA arbitration, the question arose whether the employee, a part-time medical doctor, crossed the line between a medical examination and sexual harassment. A number of employees indicated that they were uncomfortable with the way in which they were examined. On the facts, however, the commissioner concluded that the doctor was not guilty of sexual harassment tests for heart and lung conditions should ideally be concluded when the patient is unclothed. The fact that some of the employees felt uncomfortable while the medical tests were being conducted did not mean that the doctor’s conduct constituted sexual harassment. The doctor’s conduct would only constitute sexual harassment if it is not conducted for a legitimate medical purpose and the evidence did not prove that the employee had an illegitimate purpose in the case.