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Employers and Legalities: Questioning Interview Applicants About Disabilities

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If you are an employer, it is crucial that you know what you are allowed to ask potential job applicants about with regard to disabilities. The following are some guidelines to follow so that you are legally protected:

Questions You Are Not Allowed to Ask

In addition to restricted questions about disabilities, you are not allowed to ask for a pre-offer medical exam. When interviewing candidates, you cannot ask about whether or not they will need specific accommodations in order to do his or her job. You also cannot ask if the candidate has any medical problems that would limit his or her capabilities to do the job properly. If the candidate arrives at the interview with some type of mobility issue or injury, you cannot ask about the length of time before they will be fully healed. In addition, you are not to ask about any medical treatment the candidate is undergoing, including what prescription medications they are on. Keep in mind that when you contact references, you are not allowed to ask them about the candidate's medical condition either, including whether or not they took any medical leave while under his or her employment.

Questions You Are Allowed to Ask

While there are several things you cannot ask, there are quite a few things that you will be allowed to ask during a job interview. For instance, you are allowed to ask if the candidate will be able to perform the job before you make an offer. You can also ask if they can perform the tasks with or without accommodations. Another thing you can ask about is attendance and whether or not they will be able to meet the required work schedule. You are also allowed to ask about illegal drug use.

What to Do When You Notice a Disability After Hire

Once you have hired the candidate and become aware he or she has a disability that they did not tell you about previously, there are few things you can do. If you notice that the employee will need accommodations that are reasonable to do the job, you can ask limited questions about what he or she will need. You cannot ask about the employee's medical condition, the scope of his or her disability, or anything that is not related to specific job functions.

Do not make the mistake of withdrawing a job offer if you learn about the candidate's disability. You can open yourself and your company up to significant lawsuits. Click here to continue reading more about disability law and to speak with an attorney for more information.