Many companies use personality tests to determine which applicants are the best fit for a job. But do those tests violate the Americans with Disabilities Act?
They can, if they reveal enough information about candidates’ mental states.
In one court case, three rejected job applicants sued after they failed a pre-employment personality test given by the employer.
The company gave the tests to determine whether applicants had the right personality traits for the job.
The problem: The test was similar to those used by psychologists to determine if patients suffer from mental disorders such as depression, hysteria and paranoia. For example, applicants were asked if they:
- hear voices without knowing where they are coming from
- have fits of laughing and crying that they cannot control, and
- have a habit of counting things that are not important.
Therefore, the applicants claimed, the test was a medical examination, and the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by giving applicants a medical exam before they were offered jobs.
The company argued that the test wasn’t a medical exam because it wasn’t interpreted by a doctor.
But the court disagreed. Since the test revealed symptoms of personality disorders, it was considered a medical examination under the ADA, and using it before jobs were offered was a violation of the law.
Cite: Karraker v. Rent-a-Center, Inc.