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West Coast Employment Lawyers is open 24/7 and fully operational during the COVID-19 quarantine. We are available to serve all of our personal injury clients, as well as potential new clients. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Top Ranked

Employment Law Firm in California

Top Ranked

Employment Law Firm in California

What Are My Rights As A Disabled Job Applicant?


Without legal protections, many disabled people would be forced out of the workforce. Though some disabilities make work impossible, the vast majority of disabilities are not that severe and can be accommodated. Most disabled individuals are able to work, but may just need reasonable accommodations in order to perform their jobs.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against an otherwise qualified job applicant or employee with a disability. ADA regulations apply to all private employers with 15 or more employees and to all state and government employers, and are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

I Have A Disability. Is An Employer Required To Provide An Accommodation For My Job Interview?

Can An Employer Refuse My Accommodation If It Is Too Difficult?

I Have A Learning Disability. Is The Employer Required To Accommodate Me?

How And When Do I Request An Accommodation During The Job Application Process?

What Questions Is An Employer Allowed And Not Allowed To Ask About My Disability?

I Have A Disability. Is An Employer Required To Provide An Accommodation For My Job Interview?

An employer is required to provide you with reasonable accommodation to make sure you have the opportunity to be considered for a job. Simply put: an employer cannot refuse to consider you for a job opportunity because you need reasonable accommodation to compete for that job.

Reasonable accommodation during the hiring process includes:

  • Readers or sign language interpreters.
  • Providing materials in accessible formats. This includes braille, large print, or audiotape.
  • Making sure that interviews, tests, and other components of the job application process occur in accessible locations.
  • Modifying application policies and procedures, as necessary.
  • Modifying equipment or devices, as necessary.

Can An Employer Refuse My Accommodation If It Is Too Difficult?

An employer is not obligated to provide an accommodation if it will create an undue hardship. On the other hand, an employer cannot refuse to reasonably accommodate a job applicant because of financial or administrative costs. Even if your specific accommodation causes undue hardship, an employer is required to provide you with another accommodation that does not.

For example, a staffing company conducts their job interviews on the second floor of their office and there is no elevator. The staffing company offers Mary a job interview and Mary requests a reasonable accommodation because she uses a wheelchair. 

Clearly, the staffing company cannot install an elevator to accommodate Mary because that would create an undue hardship. However, the staffing company can easily conduct Mary’s job interview on the first floor, which will not create any hardship for the staffing company.

I Have A Learning Disability. Is The Employer Required To Accommodate Me?

Yes. An employer may be required to offer any testing materials in alternative formats or adjust its testing methods to accommodate your needs.

Let’s consider an example. Jeff is a blind job applicant and cannot take a written test. However, he can take this test if it is offered in braille or if the questions are tape recorded. On the other hand, a deaf job applicant may not be able to understand oral instructions, but he or she can take the test with the assistance of a sign language interpreter.

The ADA requires that all employers provide job application tests in a manner that does not require using their impaired skill(s). The only exception is when a job related test is specifically designed to measure that very skill. For example: an employer has a written test for a copyediting position. In this case, this employer is not required to offer the test in a different format for a dyslexic job applicant because the job requires the ability to read.

How And When Do I Request An Accommodation During The Job Application Process?

It is in everyone’s best interests to let an employer know as soon as possible that you will require reasonable accommodation throughout the hiring process. An employer needs advance notice to provide accommodations, such as an interpreter, or to arrange a more accessible location for an interview or job related test.

First, inform your potential employer that you require an adjustment to the application process because of a medical condition. This request can be made orally or in writing. Additionally, someone else, such as a doctor or family member, can make the request on your behalf.

Next, your potential employer will likely want to discuss your request in detail. Respond to their request and explain how your desired accommodation will help you more fully participate in the hiring process. If your medical condition is not common or readily apparent, an employer may request more information about it and why an accommodation is necessary. You are required to provide this information.

What Questions Is An Employer Allowed And Not Allowed To Ask About My Disability?

The ADA does not allow employers to ask any questions that may likely reveal the existence of a disability before they have made you a job offer.

An employer is prohibited from asking you the following questions during the pre-offer period:

  • Are you currently taking any prescription drugs?
  • Do you have asthma or difficulties breathing?
  • Have you ever filed for workers’ compensation?
  • Have you ever been hurt while on the job?
  • Do you have a disability that interferes with your ability to perform your job?
  • How many days did you call out sick in the last year?
  • Have you ever been treated for mental health issues?
  • Do you have a heart condition?

However, an employer can ask these types of questions after making you a job offer if it asks all other job applicants the same questions for the same job. Further, an employer can require a medical examination after making you a job offer if it requires the same medical examination for all other applicants who are offered the same job.

Also, an employer cannot withdraw a job offer because a medical examination reveals you have a disability. The employer can only withdraw the job offer if it can objectively demonstrate that you are unable to perform the essential job duties — with or without reasonable accommodation — or that you are a significant safety risk.

What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?

If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The disability discrimination lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling disability discrimination cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.

We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a disabilty discrimination attorney in California, contact our office at 1-800-247-9235.


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