Are employers allowed to ask about disabilities during job interviews?



Are employers allowed to ask about disabilities during job interviews?

No, employers are generally barred from asking job applicants about their physical or mental disabilities. This includes questions about the nature or severity of a disability. There are strict laws that prohibit employers from basing a hiring decision on a person’s disability or medical condition.

Disability is a protected class under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Asking a job applicant about their disabilities on an application form or verbally during a job interview can constitute disability discrimination.

Employers, however, are allowed to ask an applicant if they will be able to carry out the essential duties of a job. For example, an interviewer may ask if the applicant is physically able to lift a certain weight. Such questions are only legal if they are related to the job, consistent with the company’s needs and are asked of all prospective employees in the same type of position.

California employers are allowed to ask an applicant whether they can perform a job function with or without reasonable accommodations. They are also permitted to ask about the level of accommodation needed. However, such details may not be used adversely against the applicant.

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