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How to Accommodate Physical Job Requirements in Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act

When it came time to decide on my research paper topic I literally sat in front of my computer for hours staring at the screen. Then it just came to me and I thought “how did it take me so long to realize what my topic should be?!” I am a Talent Management Consultant (fancy term for an HR Consultant) and in August I started working with a very large client on a recruiting project. That includes reviewing and revising their hiring practices and as part of their current practices they use a pre-employment Physical Abilities Test to screen out candidates. The positions they use this for are safety sensitive positions in law enforcement and require great physical ability, but my concerns around the use of the test were that they only use the test pre-employment and the test they were using at the time was not a good representation of the physical abilities needed. At no point after employment are employees retested to ensure they maintain the level of physical fitness required to perform the essential functions of the job.


And so my initial paper topic was going to revolve around physical abilities tests and ADA. Over time and through my research, it evolved into what you now have the opportunity to read and I hope you find some benefit in; How to Accommodate Physical Job Requirements in Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in order to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. One of the areas that the ADA prohibits discrimination is in employment practices. Yet many employers struggle to understand the protections granted by the ADA, their responsibilities as an employer, and how to navigate the process of evaluating jobs and determining accommodations. My research paper is intended as educational guide for employers to better understand the ADA, the protections that it offers to individuals, the role and responsibilities of the employer, and how employers can ensure that their accommodation policies and procedures are legally compliant. It is critical for employers to understand their responsibilities under the ADA and the terminology that guides the accommodation requirements, including understanding how to determine the essential functions of a position, whether a candidate or employee is a qualified individual, and if an accommodation would constitute an undue business hardship. This guide walks employers through this terminology and the steps required to make such determinations. By using this guide to design or revise their accommodation policies and procedures, employers can ensure that they are ADA compliant.

Lorrie Coffey EMPL6990 Research FINAL
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How to Accommodate Physical Job Requirements in Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) © 2022 by Lorrie Coffey is licensed underCC BY 4.0

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