Disability and Job Discrimination: What’s Legal and What’s Not

If you are a job seeker with a disability, it’s important for you to understand your rights. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has established guidelines related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which establish what an employer may and may not ask a job applicant prior to employment.

Questions that an employer may ask at the pre-offer stage:

“The job requires you to perform these functions. Can you do this with or without reasonable accommodation?”

“Please describe or demonstrate how you would perform these functions.”

“Can you meet the attendance requirements of this job?”

“How may days were you absent from your job last year?”

“Do you use illegal drugs? Have you used illegal drugs in the last two years?”

“How much do you weigh? How tall are you?”

“Do you have the required licenses/certifications to perform the job?”

Following are some questions that an employer may not ask at the pre-offer stage:

Employers may not ask about the existance, nature, or severity of a disability, and they are prohibited from conducting medical examinations until after a conditional job offer has been made. Other questions that are prohibited include the following:

“Will you need a reasonable accommodation to perform this job?” (The employer is required to provide a “reasonable accommodation” for people with disabilities.)

“Have you been diagnosed with AIDS or HIV? Do you have AIDS-related complications?”

“Do you have a disability which would interfere with your ability to perform the job?”

“How many separate episodes of illness did you have last year?”

“Have you ever filed for workers’ compensation?”

“Have you ever been injured on the job?”

~ Anne Follis, CPRW

© Copyright 2007, Anne Follis. All Rights Reserved.

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