As an employer, you are expected to follow a lot of different rules and regulations set up to protect both you and your employees. One of these regulations is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which was put in place to help stop discrimination against those with disabilities. This regulation can be hard to follow because it even limits what you can ask in an interview. In order to follow the regulation, you have to learn what it entails.
The purpose of a job interview is to hire someone who can perform the duties related to the job. If you can’t ask questions that let you better understand a candidate’s abilities, you may end up hiring someone who is not a good fit. Learn how you can avoid discrimination while hiring and still find a standout employee.
What the ADA Covers
The ADA applies to private companies, government positions, labor unions and employment agencies with 15 or more employees. It applies to many employment-related actions, such as hiring and firing employees, accepting job applications, promoting employees, giving benefits to employees and other similar activities.
While the ADA is meant to stop you from discriminating against people with disabilities, that does not mean you have to show favoritism to applicants or employees with disabilities. If you follow the right procedure, you can and should hire the most qualified candidate for your job opening.
How to Talk About Abilities
What do you have to do to make sure that you are following the right steps? First, think about the way you talk about candidates’ abilities. It is okay to ask questions about the tasks that they would have to perform, but you should never talk about those tasks in light of a perceived disability.
Second, you have to be consistent. Ask all candidates the same questions in the same way whether or not you think they have a disability. Say you think that Candidate A may have a disability. This leads you to ask that person how he or she would go about lifting a heavy object. However, when you interviewed Candidate B, who you did not think had a disability, you did not ask this question. Even though the question was legal, you are still participating in discriminatory actions.
Finally, you have to consider the accommodations you may have to give employees. There is a simple rule to help you broach this topic. If there is no reason to believe that the candidate is disabled, i.e. the person did not come in a wheelchair or tell you about a disability, you cannot ask if he or she needs special accommodations. On the other hand, if the applicant uses a wheelchair or told you he or she has a disability, you can ask if the person would need special accommodations to do the job.
Questions You Can and Cannot Ask
During an interview, you want to make sure that you are following all of the correct protocols so you aren’t participating in any type of discriminatory actions. To that end, here are a few sample questions that you can and cannot ask:
- Do Ask: Can you perform all of the necessary job functions?
- Don’t Ask: Have you ever had or been treated for polio, tuberculosis, cancer, depression, etc.?
- Do Ask: How would you go about doing a certain task?
- Don’t Ask: Do you have any physical defects that may stop you from doing a certain task?
- Do Ask: Can you meet the attendance requirements for this job?
- Don’t Ask: How many days did you miss work last year because of illness?
- Do Ask: Do you currently use any illegal drugs?
- Don’t Ask: Have you ever been treated for a drug addiction or alcoholism?
Make sure you do your research so you can avoid discriminating against applicants and current employees. Follow the regulations set up by the ADA and other anti-discriminatory policies to ensure that you are treating all of your employees fairly.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.