Interviewing and the ADA
Newsletter volume 1 number 5
On July 26th, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) becomes law and protects the 43 million Americans with disabilities against discrimination in the hiring process. The ADA applies to every organization with 25 or more employees.
Interviewer anxiety about the impact and implications of ADA is understandable, but may be unwarranted. Management Team Consultants , Inc. believes that it is unnecessary to scare managers into a compliance mode.
Management Team Consultants, Inc. has invested considerable time and resources in updating seminar materials in order to keep clients knowledgeable and prepared in this high-visibility area. Seminar materials have been reviewed by Mike Lotito, partner in Jackson, Lewis, Schnitzler & Krupman, a national labor relations law firm.
Here are some questions managers may wonder about when interviewing a person with disabilities. Answers to each question are provided with an expanded discussion throughout this issue.
1. Does every interviewer have to discuss the physical requirements of the job with the candidate?
2. Does every interviewer have to ask identical questions of the candidate?
3. Should the interviewer ask the candidate for accommodation suggestions?
4. What should the interviewer do when the candidate says he/she is not able to perform an "essential function" of the job?
5. Should there be specific questions about each essential function?
6. Should the interviewer use the term "reasonable accommodation" with the candidate?
7. Should every interviewer discuss obvious physical disabilities (e.g. person is in a wheelchair) with the candidate?
8. If I have several qualified applicants, am I required to hire the one with a disability?
While ADA is not primarily intended to retrain corporate America in interviewing practices, it will undoubtedly present new challenges and resolutions that will be tested in the courts. At the same time, however, it provides an opportunity for all employers to focus on selection criteria and improve the way all hiring decisions are made.
As you read this newsletter, the Americans with Disabilities Act is taking effect. Are you ready?
Answers: (1) No. (2) No. (3) Yes. (4) First, ask why not? (5) Yes. (6) No. (7) No. (8) No.