The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with the city of Hubbard, Oregon, resolving an investigation of the city under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The investigation found that the city’s online employment application asked questions about disabilities in violation of the ADA. The ADA does not permit employers to inquire whether an applicant is an individual with a disability or as to the nature of such disability before making a conditional offer of employment. However, the ADA permits federal contractors subject to affirmative action requirements under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to invite an applicant voluntarily to self-identify as an individual with a disability, consistent with certain requirements. Last month, the department reached a similar settlement agreement with Florida State University.
Under the settlement, the city agrees to ensure that its hiring policies do not discriminate against any applicant on the basis of disability, including by:
· not conducting a medical examination or making a disability-related inquiry of a job applicant before a conditional offer of employment is made;
· not requiring a medical examination or making inquiries of an employee as to whether such employee is an individual with a disability, or as to the nature or severity of the disability, unless such examination or inquiry is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity;
· maintaining the medical or disability-related information of applicants and employees in separate, confidential medical files; and
· training employees who make hiring or personnel decisions on the requirements of the ADA, designating an individual to address ADA compliance matters and reporting on compliance.
“This agreement ensures that people with disabilities will have an equal chance to compete for jobs with the city of Hubbard,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to eliminating employment barriers for people with disabilities, and we commend the city of Hubbard for its cooperation and efforts to ensure fairness in the job application process.”
Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may call the department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit the ADA website.