Summary of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines pertaining to pre-offer stage of hiring process.
- An employer may tell applicants what the hiring process involves (e.g., an interview timed written test, job demonstrations), and may ask applicants whether they will
need a reasonable accommodation for the hiring process.
- In general, an employer may not ask questions on an application or in an interview about whether an applicant will need reasonable accommodation on the job. This is
because these questions are likely to elicit whether the applicant has a disability. However, when an employer could reasonably believe that an applicant will need
reasonable accommodation to perform the functions of the job, the employer may ask the applicant certain limited questions. Specifically, the employer may ask whether the
applicant needs reasonable accommodation and what type would be needed to perform the functions of the job.
The employer can ask these questions if:
- The employer reasonably believes the applicant will need reasonable accommodation because of an obvious disability;
- The employer reasonably believes the applicant will need reasonable accommodation because of a hidden disability that the applicant has voluntarily disclosed to the employer; or
- An applicant has voluntarily disclosed to the employer that a reasonable accommodation is needed to perform the job.
- If the need for accommodation is not obvious, an employer may ask an applicant for reasonable documentation about his or her disability if the applicant requests
reasonable accommodation for the hiring process.
- An employer is prohibited from asking questions about whether applicants can perform major life activities (standing, lifting, walking) unless they are specifically
asked about the ability to perform job functions.
- An employer may ask applicants about their prior alcohol or illegal drug use, as long as the particular question does not go into past addiction.
- An employer may not ask a third party (such as a state agency, applicant's friends, families or former employers) any questions that it could not directly ask the applicant.