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Ensuring Access to Jobs for People with Disabilities

Americans with disabilities can face many unnecessary barriers to employment, both during the job application process and on the job.  These barriers can prevent people with disabilities from finding and maintaining a job, receiving promotions and ultimately being economically self-sufficient and independent. 

During the job application process, applicants with disabilities may not want to disclose their disabilities to potential employers for a number of reasons, including the risk that the employer would refuse to hire them because of their disability.  Sometimes employers stereotype people with disabilities or take adverse employment actions because of misinformation or ignorance about certain health conditions.  Having to disclose a disability can deter people with disabilities even from applying for jobs out of fear of discrimination. 

Recognizing these real risks, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful for an employer to ask about whether an applicant has with a disability or about the nature of such disability before making a conditional offer of employment.  Despite the ADA’s prohibitions, some employers still ask job applicants if they have a disability and about the nature of the disability, in violation of the ADA.  Over the past few months, the Department of Justice found that several public employers were making these kinds of inquiries right in their job applications.  To resolve these violations, the department entered into settlement agreements with nine different public entities.

If you are are wondering what questions are illegal to ask under the ADA, you can review our interview with Peter Berg,the ADA Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Great Lakes ADA Center as well as the presentation by Cindy Tarshish, the Program Manager of ADA Minnesota. Or read our resource, Things You May Not Know About the ADA.

If you have any questions about the ADA or employment issues, reach out to us here at Punch-in or contact the Great Lakes ADA center at 1-800-949-4232.

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