The EEOC has proposed new regulations to enforce the expanded version of the Americans with Disabilities Act passed last year. They’re going to have a big impact on many HR functions, including hiring.
Long story short: With a broadened definition of “disability,” more job applicants will be covered by the law.
As before, a disability’s defined as a condition that substantially limits a major life activity.
But instead of the old “eating, sleeping and working” that courts were used to, the new regs expand protection with a huge list of activities covering everything from caring for oneself and performing manual tasks to concentrating and communicating.
How HR can prepare
The following steps will help HR any new legal landmines created by the regs:
- Train hiring managers — With more applicants considered disabled by the law, it’s more likely than ever that an unsuccessful candidate will sue for disability bias. Managers need to stay clear of interview questions that touch on health issues.
- Review job descriptions — Seemingly innocent wording could be thought by courts to exclude to people with disabilities. A company could get in trouble, for example, if a job description lists a specific lifting requirement for a position that involves lifting only occasionally.
Remind managers: The law doesn’t, and never did, require you to hire anyone who’s unqualified. But with new opportunities for people to sue, it’s important than ever to keep the hiring process focused on the applicant’s ability to do the job.
To read a summary of the new regs, click here.