AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT - EEOC Unveils New Fact Sheet
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a fact sheet designed to educate job applicants about their rights under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fact sheet, which addresses issues in a question-and-answer format, is part of the EEOC’s efforts to advance the employment of individuals with disabilities under President George W. Bush’s “New Freedom Initiative.”
The new publication explains employers’ reasonable accommodation obligations under the ADA during the hiring process, including examples of reasonable accommodations and accommodations that are too difficult or expensive. For example, in response to the question of whether you must give employees a specifically requested reasonable accommodation, the fact sheet states that when more than one accommodation meets the employee’s needs, you may choose which one to provide.
The fact sheet also outlines the types of questions you’re prohibited from asking on applications, during interviews, and after making an offer. According to the fact sheet, you may not ask an applicant how many days he/she was sick last year. In addition, the fact sheet notes that except under specific circumstances, you may not ask an obviously disabled applicant medical questions during an interview.
On the other hand, the fact sheet clarifies the circumstances under which you may seek medical information from applicants. For instance, questions such as “Do you have a disability that would interfere with your ability to perform the job?” and “What prescription drugs are you currently taking?” may be asked after extending a job offer so long as you ask the same questions of other applicants offered the same type of job.
The fact sheet also provides resources on how to file a discrimination charge and how to obtain further information about the ADA. To obtain a copy, visit the agency’s website at www.eeoc.gov/facts/jobapplicant.html.