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Can an employer ask questions about a job applicant's disability?

Getting a good job is not always easy and often takes persistence. If there is one thing that almost everyone wants, it is a fair chance to succeed in the workplace. As a potential employee, you want to be judged on your ability to do a job. And if you have a disability, you fear that it may be counted against you when you apply for a job.

Fortunately, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are not permitted to ask a job applicant to do any of the following:

  • To have a medical examination.
  • To state the nature of any disability an applicant may have.
  • To cite any personal disabilities.
  • To respond to medical questions.

However, an employer can inquire if you believe you would need reasonable accommodations to perform your tasks effectively. If you say yes to that question, the employer can ask you how you would carry out your duties.

Everyone should have the opportunity to work and accomplish their goals. But often, doing this requires someone saying "you're hired" when you apply for a job. And if you have a disability that does not affect your ability to carry out your responsibilities, then you should be judged no differently from anyone else applying for the same position. Smart employers know this to be true and will act accordingly by not violating ADA rules when looking for new hires.

Unfortunately, sometimes an employer may not be so enlightened. If you are a disabled worker and you believe an employer treated you unfairly when you applied for a job, you may wish to speak to a California disability discrimination attorney. The attorney can assess your situation to determine if your experience qualified as discrimination. Given the circumstances, the attorney may be able to help see that the matter is properly addressed and your rights are asserted.

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