Posts Tagged ‘Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’

ADA Hiring and High School Diploma Job Requirements

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), just recently issued a series of Questions and Answers which clarified an earlier EEOC informal discussion letter about ADA requirements for employers who require applicants to have high school diplomas to qualify for certain jobs. 

That November 17, 2011 letter opined that an employer who made high school graduate a job requirement may well violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), unless the employer could demonstrate that the requirement was 1) job related and 2) consistent with business necessity.  The earlier EEOC letter also said that to the extent a learning disability prevented the job applicant from meeting the high school graduation requirement, the employer might also have to have to make an individualized determination whether a particular applicant could perform the essential functions of the job, with or without an accommodation, before the employer could deny the applicant a job on the basis of the failure to complete high school. 

Now, the EEOC has clarified that its earlier letter did not make it illegal, per se, for businesses to require a high school diploma for a job.  Rather, according to the EEOC’s recent Q & A discussion, an employer may have to allow someone who says that a disability has prevented him from obtaining a high school diploma to demonstrate qualification for the job in some other way.  The new Q & A from the EEOC also made clear that its earlier opinion letter did not create protection in the ADA for people who do not graduate from high school, unless a disability as defined by the ADA was the reason that it was impossible for the job applicant to obtain a high school diploma.  The Q & A’s issued by the EEOC also stated that an employer is not required to hire a person who is unable to graduate from high school because of a disability.  The new EEOC Q & A’s do provide that as with any job criteria which may tend to screen out persons with disabilities, an employer who requires a high school education may have to evaluate whether there exists an ADA reasonable accommodation to allow a learning disabled person to perform the essential functions of the job. According to the EEOC:

Employers may continue to have high school diploma requirements and, in the vast majority of cases, they will not have to make exceptions to them. However, if an applicant tells an employer she cannot meet the requirement because of a disability, an employer may have to allow her to demonstrate the ability to do the job in some other way. This may include considering work experience in the same or similar jobs, or allowing her to demonstrate performance of the job’s essential functions. The employer can require the applicant to demonstrate, perhaps through appropriate documentation, that she has a disability and that the disability actually prevents her from meeting the high school diploma requirement.

The complete text of the EEOC’s Q & A can be found here.

Violators: Expect to be caught between Barack and a Hard Place

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Chris Vrountas has posted the following:

President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress and to the American people last night. He covered quite a bit of ground about the economy, health care and national security, among other things, but he also specifically discussed his administration’s policy regarding civil rights and wage law enforcement. The president’s strident tone should provide notice to business and other employers that the federal government will be looking to enforce the anti-discrimination and wage laws vigorously and, in some cases, looking to make examples of certain violators. Here is a brief portion of the speech last night:

. . .

Abroad, America’s greatest source of strength has always been our ideals. The same is true at home. We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.

We must continually renew this promise. My Administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws - so that women get equal pay for an equal day’s work. And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system – to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations.

In the end, it is our ideals, our values, that built America – values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe; values that drive our citizens still. Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers. Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbors and give back to their country. They take pride in their labor, and are generous in spirit. These aren’t Republican values or Democratic values they’re living by; business values or labor values. They are American values.

. . .

So, it is “let the word go forth” time for this administration and its policy on civil rights and wage and hour enforcement. Employers should mindfully review their policies, develop their training, ensure compliance, make HR available and noticeable, take internal complaints seriously and resolve them fairly because employers who do not manage their workplaces actively may have the EEOC or the DOL doing it for them.

Record High Levels of Discrimination Claims Reported by the EEOC

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Chris Vrountas, Chair of the firm’s Employment Counseling and Litigation Group, contributes the following:

The EEOC announced this week that Fiscal 2009 ended with record numbers of disability, religion and national origin discrimination claims, while the number of age-related discrimination claims reached the second highest for that category in history. Meanwhile, the most frequently filed claims remained those alleging discrimination on the basis of race (36%), retaliation (36%) and sex (30%). The EEOC provides these and other statistics on its website.