No one should go into a job interview fearing that the interviewer will ask questions about medical or disability questions. The only thing that an interview should be about is whether or not you can do the job or not. Unfortunately, there are many employer who violate the law by asking candidates about pre-existing medical conditions and disabilities.
Who does the ADA protect during the hiring process?
Best Disability Employment Lawyer Answer: The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) not only protects current employees but also applicants. The ADA contain laws that make it illegal for companies to discriminate against a qualified applicant because of a disability. Under the ADA, an applicant will be protected from discrimination if he or she: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, (2) has a documented record or history such a physical or mental impairment, or (3) is regarded or perceived by an employer as having a substantially limiting physical or mental impairment. An employer cannot refuse to hire an applicant because of such a disability or medical condition. (Best Law Read: How Do You Prove An Unlawful Failure To Hire Claim?; Can My Job Offer Be Pulled Because I Have A Medical Condition?).
Can an employer ask about my disability or medical condition during a job interview?
Best ADA Attorney Answer: No. Before any offers are made, employers likely violate the ADA when they ask questions during the interview or on application documents that will likely to reveal that the applicant has a disability. Obviously, questions directly related to a disability or medical condition are unlawful (i.e., Do you have any medical conditions that will impact your ability to do the job you are applying for? Do you have high blood pressure? Do you take any medication for anxiety or depression? Do you have any heart or lung issues?). This is true even for obvious disabilities. Employers can ask applicants if they are physically able to perform the central functions of the job at issue, such as can you regularly lift 20 pounds or can you type 65 words per minute.
Can a company ask about my disability or medical condition after giving me an offer?
Best Ohio Employment Discrimination Lawyer Answer: Maybe. Much like asking for medical records and requiring a medical examination, employers are permitted to ask questions and request medical records and exams, but only if the same procedure is followed for everyone being hired for that position. (Best Law Read: Can My Boss Force Me To Take A Medical Exam?; +++ ). To that end, if an employer uniformly applies this policy, the employer can ask questions about disability and medical conditions, as well as request medical records and exams. On the other hand, if the company picks and chooses who to ask, it will likely violate the ADA.
What will happen to an employer that violates the ADA during interviews?
Best Disability Employment Attorney Answer: Let’s take Stevens Transport, the largest refrigerated trucking company in Texas, as our example today. According to a federal lawsuit, after an applicant applied for a driver job, he was brought in for an interview with a recruiter. During the interview, the recruiter noticed a small gap in employment and asked if it was do to a medical issue. The applicant honestly responded that it was related to hypertension but assured her that he could perform all functions of the job. The recruiter further pressed the applicant as to whether he had needed to take time off from his last job due to his hypertension, which he admitted needing to do. According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, the recruiter subsequently told the applicant that Stevens Transport declined to hire him because he had used medical time off in the past.
This obviously bad conduct by an employer. It violated the ADA when it asked medical questions and then again when it discriminated based on the applicant’s disability as part of the hiring process. This is disability discrimination in violation of the ADA plain and simple.
After being sued, Stevens agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the claim.
What should I do If I’m asked about a disability on my job interview?
Best Ohio Employment Lawyer Answer: You should never have to deal with an interviewer asking about medical or disability information on your job interview. If you are faced with such conduct in violation of the ADA, you need a disability discrimination lawyer to help you. Call call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Our lawyers in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati, Youngstown and Detroit are here to give you the help you need right now. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment law.
This employment law website is an advertisement. The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “can I be rejected for jobs because of my disability?”, “when can a company that I’m applying to ask about my medical information during the application process?”, “what should I do if I’m told that a company will not hire me because of my diabetes?” or “can a company refuse to hire me because I have asthma or a heart condition?”, it would be best for you to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to disability discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, attorney, Brian Spitz or any individual attorney.