Interview Process

What are Job Related Requirements?

Not allowed:

• Inquiries about the nature, severity or extent of a disability or whether the applicant requires reasonable accommodation.
• Whether applicant has applied for or received worker’s compensation.
• Also any inquiry that is not job related or consistent with business necessity.
• Questions about an applicant's physical or mental impairment or how s/he became disabled (for example: questions about why the applicant uses a wheelchair);
• Questions about an applicant's use of medication;
• Asking an employee whether s/he has (or ever had) a disability or how s/he became disabled or inquiring about the nature or severity of an employee's disability;
• Asking an employee to provide medical documentation regarding his/her disability;
• Asking an employee's co-worker, family member, doctor, or another person about an employee's disability;
• Asking about an employee's genetic information;
• Asking about an employee's prior workers' compensation history;
• Asking an employee whether s/he currently is taking any prescription drugs or medications, whether s/he has taken any such drugs or medications in the past, or monitoring an employee's taking of such drugs or medications; and,
• Asking an employee a broad question about his/her impairments that is likely to elicit information about a disability (e.g., What impairments do you have?).


• Asking generally about an employee's wellbeing (e.g. How are you?), asking an employee who looks tired or ill if s/he is feeling okay, asking an employee who is sneezing or coughing whether s/he has a cold or allergies, or asking how an employee is doing following the death of a loved one or the end of a marriage/relationship;
• Asking an employee about non-disability related impairments (e.g. How did you break your leg?)
• Asking an employee whether s/he can perform job functions;
• Asking an employee whether s/he has been drinking;
• Asking an employee about his/her current illegal use of drugs;
• Asking a pregnant employee how she is feeling or when her baby is due; and,
• Asking an employee to provide the name and telephone number of a person to contact in case of a medical emergency.
• Whether s/he has the right education, training, and skills for the position.
• Whether s/he can satisfy the job's requirements or essential functions (describe them to the applicant).
• How much time off the applicant took in a previous job (but not why), the reason s/he or she left a previous job, and any past discipline.
• Inquiries as to how the applicant could demonstrate or describe the performance of these specific job functions with or without reasonable accommodation.(Please notify HR if such a question is going to be asked.)

Where it seems likely that an applicant has a disability that will require a reasonable accommodation, you may ask whether s/he will need one. This is an exception to the usual rule that questions regarding disability and reasonable accommodation should come after making a conditional job offer.
Example: During a job interview, you may ask a blind applicant interviewing for a position that requires working with a computer whether s/he will need a reasonable accommodation, such as special software that will read information on the screen.

See the EEOC Q&A about:  Job Applicants and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified applicants with disabilities by using job-screening techniques that would eliminate such individuals from consideration (42 U.S.C. §12112(b)). That means employers cannot ask job applicants about their health or require medical examinations or other tests that might reveal disabilities before a firm offer of employment has been made.

Job Related Requirements

Job-related requirements, also known as “qualification standards,” may include the following:

• Possessing specific training.
• Possessing specific licenses or certificates.
• Possessing certain physical or mental abilities (e.g. meeting vision, hearing, or lifting requirements; showing an ability to run or climb; exercising good judgment).
• Meeting health or safety requirements.
• Demonstrating certain attributes such as the ability to work with other people or to work under pressure.

Most jobs require that employees perform both “essential functions” and “marginal functions.” The “essential functions” are the most important job duties, the critical elements that must be performed to achieve the objectives of the job. Removal of an essential function would fundamentally change a job. Marginal functions are those tasks or assignments that are tangential and not as important.

If an applicant or employee cannot meet a specific qualification standard because of a disability, the ADA requires that the employer demonstrate the importance of the standard by showing that it is “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” This requirement ensures that the qualification standard is a legitimate measure of an individual’s ability to perform an essential function of the specific position the individual holds or desires. If an employer cannot show that a particular standard is “job-related and consistent with business necessity,” the employer cannot use the standard to take an adverse action against an individual with a disability.

Employers may have to provide a “reasonable accommodation” to enable an individual with a disability to meet a qualification standard that is job-related and consistent with business necessity or to perform the essential functions of her position. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an applicant or employee with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. An employee generally has to request accommodation, but does not have to use the term “reasonable accommodation,” or even “accommodation,” to put the employer on notice. Rather, an employee only has to say that she requires the employer to provide her with an adjustment or change at work due to a medical condition. An employer never has to provide an accommodation that would cause undue hardship, meaning significant difficulty or expense, which includes removing an essential function of the job.

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