Is the ADA’s prohibition on disability discrimination absolute?

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2019 | Disability Discrimination |

Those in Minneapolis who are hunting for a job may face a long road ahead of them. Sometimes it takes many job applications and several interviews before a person lands the job they’ve been looking for. Those who have a disability may be fearful that they won’t be hired due to their disability. However, per the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), employers cannot engage in disability discrimination against qualified job applicants with a disability.

What is important to remember, though, is that job applicants with a disability must still be able to meet the job requirements and perform the “essential functions” of the job if they’re provided with “reasonable accommodations” that do not cause an employer to experience an “undue hardship.” Employers do not have to hire applicants who cannot perform the essential functions of the job even if the applicant is provided with a reasonable accommodation, but employers cannot refuse to hire a qualified applicant with a disability if the disability only prevents the applicant form performing minor duties that are not considered essential to the position.

In addition, employers can refuse to hire disabled applicants if the applicant’s disability poses a significant risk to the safety of others. However, employers need to ask questions regarding previous job experiences and may also need to request specific information from the applicant’s physician. Employers are not permitted to refuse to hire disabled applicants if there is only a slight risk to others, if they only speculate that a risk could occur down the road, or due to generalizations about the applicant’s disability.

As this shows, the ADA’s prohibition against disability discrimination doesn’t necessarily mean that one’s disability cannot be taken into account when being considered for a job. There are limited circumstances under which an employer can refuse to hire a disabled job applicant. However, these exceptions are very fact-specific and can be difficult to prove. Those who believe they were passed over for a job due to a disability will want to seek the professional guidance necessary to determine if the potential employer violated the ADA.