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AL-APSE, Association for Persons Supporting Employment First



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Employers > FAQ's > Partnerships > Job Candidate > Accommodate > ADA

When the Job Candidate has a Disability

Even the most seasoned interviewer may feel less confident when interviewing an applicant with a disability. For those with even less experience, the task can be overwhelming.

Interviewing Tips

Hiring Do's and Don'ts – Pre-Job Offer

Basic rule: The ADA does not allow questions about a candidate’s disability or to give a medical examination until after a conditional job offer is made.

Examples of what you CAN ask:

Whether the applicant has appropriate education, training, and skills necessary to perform the essential functions of the job.
Whether the applicant can satisfy the job’s requirements or essential functions (describe these job functions to the applicant).

If it appears an applicant has a disability requiring a reasonable accommodation(s), the interviewer may ask if she or he will need one. This is an exception to the rule that questions regarding disability and reasonable accommodations should come after making a conditional job offer.

Example: “As you can see from the job description, this position requires some lifting and moving. Do you foresee any difficulty in performing the required tasks? If so, do you have any suggestions how these tasks can be performed?”

How much time off the applicant took in previous jobs (but not why), the reason he or she left, and any past discipline received.

Examples of what CAN'T be asked:

Questions about an applicant’s physical or mental disability or how he or she became disabled (e.g., questions about why the applicant uses a wheelchair).
Questions about an applicant’s use of medication.
Questions about an applicant’s prior workers’ compensation history.

Hiring Do's and Don'ts – Post-Job

Basic rule: After making a job offer, the interviewer may ask any disability-related questions and conduct a medical examination as long as this is done for everybody in the same job category.

Examples of what you CAN do:

If you want to give a medical examination to someone who has been offered a job that involves heavy labor, you must give the same exam to everyone who is offered the same kind of job.
You can withdraw an offer from an applicant with a disability only if it is clear that she or he cannot do the essential job functions or would pose a direct threat (i.e., a significant risk of substantial harm) to the health or safety of himself or herself or other employees. Be sure to consider whether any reasonable accommodation(s) would enable the individual to perform the job’s essential functions or would reduce any safety risk the individual might pose.
You may withdraw an offer of a manufacturing job involving the use of dangerous machinery if you learn during a post-offer medical exam that the applicant has frequent and unpredictable seizures.

Examples of what you CAN'T do:

You can’t withdraw an offer to an HIV-positive applicant because you are concerned about customer and client reactions or because you assume that they will be unable to work long and stressful hours.


Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), (800-669-4000), (TTY 800-559-6820)

Source: VCU - RRTC on Workplace Supports

AL-APSE, The Network on Employment

PO Box 240691
Montgomery, AL 36124

This site is made possible by a grant from the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities