Employment Law: Staying ADA Compliant And Avoiding Disability Lawsuits

Posted on: 9 March 2016

Did you know that research shows that employers are more than 25 percent less likely to be interested in potential job candidates who inform them of a physical disability even if they are extremely qualified for the position? This is prohibited under the Americans with Disabilities Act. And although you may say that you would never discriminate against a disabled job applicant, you may do so unintentionally. Therefore, you want to make sure that you are equipped with the right information to ensure that this doesn't happen. Otherwise, you are putting yourself and your business at risk for potential lawsuits.

Does the ADA Apply to You?

More than likely, the ADA does apply to your business. It covers state and local governments, labor organizations, employment agencies and private employers with at least 15 employees. You must comply with the ADA for all practices that are related to employment. This includes everything from job recruiting, training, and advertising to hiring, promotions, and firing.  

Is It Possible to Ask a Candidate About His or Her Disability?

This is where things can get tricky, as you have to be very careful not to get yourself in trouble. It is usually completely fine to ask a job applicant about his or her ability to perform work-related tasks or to perform a job itself. However, you cannot specifically ask about the candidate's disability itself. For example, if you are interviewing a candidate for a position that will require the lifting of heavy objects, you cannot ask him or her whether the disability would keep him or her from lifting the items. Instead, you would need to phrase the question so that you were asking the applicant how they would lift the heavy objects.

How Can You Be Consistent With Interview Questions?

The main thing when it comes to discrimination is that employers tend to treat job candidates with disabilities differently than all other interviewees. So, when asking questions of your job applicants, it is important that you remain consistent with all candidates. If you ask one person about performing a certain task, you need to ask all of them that same question in the same manner.

Do You Know Your Rights as an Employer?

As an employer and the boss, you know who is best-suited for the job that you are hiring for. You do not need to give special treatment to the disabled, but you are required to treat them the same as all of your other job candidates. If you are unsure whether you are going about hiring the right way and want to ensure that you remain ADA compliant, you may want to seek out the assistance of an employment law firm.