Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Jan 18, 2012

ADA may require exceptions to minimum education standards

DisabilityHiring 
In an informal discussion letter, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently advised that employers may need to make an exception to their minimum education requirements if an applicant was unable to obtain a degree due to a disability.

In an informal discussion letter, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently advised that employers may need to make an exception to their minimum education requirements if an applicant was unable to obtain a degree due to a disability. The letter focused on employers who require a high school diploma, but the principles would extend to any minimum educational standard for applicants.

 

The EEOC pointed out that anytime a selection process screens someone out due to a disability, you need to be able to show that the standard is job-related and consistent with business necessity. If someone without the relevant degree could easily perform the essential functions of the job, then the standard isn’t valid.

 

Even if the standard is job-related and consistent with business necessity, the EEOC says you should consider whether the individual with a disability could nonetheless perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. For example, you might allow the applicant to demonstrate how he or she would perform the functions in question. If an applicant claims that a disability prevents him or her from meeting one of your qualification standards and you aren’t sure how to proceed, contact your Vigilant staff representative for help.

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