In general, the ADA considers an applicant with a disability to be qualified for a job if they meet the education requirements, past experience, and can show that they are able to perform the functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. When recruiting and hiring, HR personnel should follow some basic guidelines:
- Ensure that job descriptions and postings can be reformatted so that individuals who are disabled can comprehend the information. For example, using larger print. If job applicants must come in to apply in person or attend an interview, ensure that reasonable accommodations such as wheelchair ramps are in place or interpreters are provided.
- The ADA does not require companies to specifically seek out applicants with disabilities; however, you may choose to post the job opportunity with organizations and web sites that support the hiring of people with disabilities such as jobaccess.org or askearn.org.
- Include a notice on the application that if the applicant needs accommodations with the application process, they should notify the company.
- While you do have the right to ask for documentation that proves that they in fact have a disability that is eligible under the ADA, you must not ask direct questions about the disability such as medications.
- Focus on asking questions regarding their specific skills, past training or experience, education, and credentials.
- You cannot ask specific questions about their disability or the severity of their disability; however, you can ask them to describe how they would go about performing job tasks.
- When there are obviously observable disabilities or the applicant has voluntarily disclosed disability information, you may ask about the types of accommodations they may need. If information is not disclosed, you may not get specific medical or disability information until after a conditional offer has been given.