JAN – Employers’ Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Job Applications and Interviews

Blog# 11152019JAN

Heidi Macomber reads the Job Accommodation Networks (JAN) Employers’ Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA specific to Job Applications and Interviews.

Today I am reading Part II of JANs Employer’s Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA which is specific to Employment Applications and Interviews. JAN is short for Job Accommodation Network. If you have any questions about the ADA please do visit JANs website, there is an abundance of information for everyone (employers and individuals). JAN is the place to go for disability information, they have training, resources, publications and an ADA Library.

The following is a cut and paste from their online guide to reasonable accommodation. See the Resources section below that includes links to that webpage as well as a .pdf download for the information I’ve shared on this page.

Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom and check out the links in the Resources section. Take advantage of the free resources available to get free information plus free help and services from ODEP, WRP and EARN.


The ADA applies to all aspects of employment, including job advertisements, job applications, job interviews, and post-offer medical examinations. Although many of the ADA rules that apply to applicants and new-hires are the same as the rules for employees, there are some differences. This section discusses the differences.

A. Job Advertisements and Applications

1. What information do employers have to provide about the ADA on job advertisements and job applications?

No specific information about the ADA is required on job advertisements or job applications. However, the EEOC advises employers to include information about the essential functions of the job in job announcements, advertisements, and other recruitment notices because specific information about essential functions will attract applicants, including individuals with disabilities, who have appropriate qualifications.

The EEOC also advises employers to consider including a statement in job advertisements and notices that they do not discriminate on the basis of disability or other legally prohibited bases. The EEOC provides the following example: “We are an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or disability.”

2. Does the ADA require affirmative action in the hiring of people with disabilities?

No. The ADA is a nondiscrimination law. It does not require employers to undertake special activities to recruit people with disabilities. However, it is consistent with the purpose of the ADA for employers to expand their “outreach” to sources of qualified candidates with disabilities. Recruitment activities that have the effect of screening out potential applicants with disabilities may violate the ADA.

For example: If an employer conducts recruitment activity at a college campus, job fair, or other location that is physically inaccessible, or does not make its recruitment activity accessible at such locations to people with visual, hearing or other disabilities, it may be liable if a charge of discrimination is filed.

3. Does the ADA allow affirmative action in the hiring of people with disabilities?

Employers may invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify for purposes of the employer’s affirmative action program if the employer is undertaking affirmative action because of a federal, state, or local law that requires affirmative action for individuals with disabilities, or the employer is voluntarily using the information to benefit individuals with disabilities.

According to the EEOC, if an employer invites applicants to voluntarily self-identify in connection with providing affirmative action, the employer must state clearly that the information requested is used solely for affirmative action purposes, that it is being requested on a voluntary basis, that it will be kept confidential in accordance with the ADA, that refusal to provide it will not subject the applicant to any adverse treatment, and that it will be used only in accordance with the ADA.

4. Where can employers find qualified applicants with disabilities?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), qualified applicants with disabilities can be located through various resources, including Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). In addition, ODEP co-sponsors the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) to connect public and private sector employers nationwide with postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities and many colleges and universities have coordinators of services for students with disabilities who can be helpful in recruitment. Employers may also be able to locate qualified applicants with disabilities by contacting local independent living centers or organizations representing people who have specific disabilities.

5. What accommodations do employers have to provide during the application process?

Employers have an obligation to make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants with disabilities to apply for jobs. For example, information about jobs should be available in a location that is accessible to people with mobility impairments. If a job advertisement provides only a telephone number to call for information, a TDD (telecommunication device for the deaf) number should be included, unless a telephone relay service has been established. Printed job information in an employment office or on employee bulletin boards should be made available, as needed, to persons with visual or other reading impairments. Preparing information in large print will help make it available to some people with visual impairments. Information can be recorded or read to applicants with more severe vision impairments and those who have other disabilities that limit reading ability.

6. Do employers have to make online application processes accessible?

Employers must either make their online application processes accessible or provide an alternative means for people with disabilities to apply for jobs, unless they can show that doing so would cause an undue hardship. 

7. What medical questions can employers ask on job applications?

Employers cannot ask disability-related questions before an offer of employment is made. In general, this means that employers cannot ask questions on job applications that are likely to elicit information about a disability. For example, employers cannot ask whether an applicant has a physical or mental impairment, has received workers compensation, or was ever addicted to illegal drugs. For more examples, visit Pre-Offer, Disability-Related Questions.

8. How can employers accommodate applicants with disabilities during pre-employment testing?

The method of accommodation depends on the individual applicant’s limitations and the type of test involved, so each situation must be approached on a case by case basis. As a starting point, JAN put together a broad discussion of potential accommodations for testing

9. Do employers have to have job descriptions?

According to the EEOC, the ADA does not require employers to develop or maintain job descriptions. A written job description that is prepared before advertising or interviewing applicants for a job will be considered as evidence in determining essential functions along with other relevant factors. However, the job description will not be given greater weight than other relevant evidence.

The ADA does not limit an employer’s ability to establish or change the content, nature, or functions of a job. It is the employer’s province to establish what a job is and what functions are required to perform it. The ADA simply requires that an individual with a disability’s qualifications for a job be evaluated in relation to the job’s essential functions.


Employers’ Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

PDF Download of Part II – ADA, Reasonable Accommodation and the Application and Interview process

EEOC’s Title I Technical Assistance Manual

For sample EEO statements, see Making a Statement – About Reasonable Accommodation and Equal Opportunity

 Pre-Employment Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams

 Affirmative Action and Disability: What Can Employers Ask?

Free consulting services and resources to support the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities, visit the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN).

Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)

List of VR offices by state, visit JAN’s resource page.

JAN’s A to Z by Topic: Online Applications.

Pre-Offer, Disability-Related Questions.

JAN’s resources for Disability Etiquette

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s