Category Archives: EEOC

High-School Diploma Requirement May Violate ADA

Wow! The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has added yet another wrinkle to the hiring process and has taken us that much further away from “the way it used to be.”

In this informal letter, issued Nov. 17, the EEOC has warned that requiring a high-school diploma from a job applicant might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act because the requirement could effectively screen out anyone unable to graduate because of a learning disability.

“Under the ADA,” the letter states, “a qualification standard, test, or other selection criterion, such as a high-school diploma requirement, that screens out an individual or a class of individuals on the basis of a disability must be job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.

“A qualification standard,” it says, “is job-related and consistent with business necessity if it accurately measures the ability to perform the job’s essential functions (i.e. its fundamental duties). Even where a challenged qualification standard, test, or other selection criterion is job-related and consistent with business necessity, if it screens out an individual on the basis of disability, an employer must also demonstrate that the standard or criterion cannot be met, and the job cannot be performed, with a reasonable accommodation.”

This legal alert from Ballard Spahr points out that “the informal letter, although not an official opinion, demonstrates that the hiring process can present a minefield of obstacles for employers.”

No kidding. I can only imagine what the job applications I filled out “back in the day” would look like if all discriminatory “mines” were ommitted. Name, address and Social Security number perhaps?

At least this would cut down on all the frantic phone calls to parents from teens and 20-somethings sitting in HR offices: “Hey, what month and year did I graduate high school again???” Oh, you didn’t get those? I did.

Compliance Help on the Rise

Funny, in the past two days, I’ve come across two new tools in the “HR space marketplace” designed to help employers comply with ever-changing legislation and regulations where the government seems to be leaving an ever-widening void.

Just today, I found a Top 10 Environmental and Safety Concerns list from KPA. (This link will take you to several other links about it, including a webinar you might want to check out.) The list helps managers in the auto industry, specifically dealerships and service centers, know what the latest hot buttons are for compliance and worker safety under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Until now,” this release states, “there was only one way for [these managers] to know what the hot buttons were … . They had to sift through OSHA’s annual publication of citations for the entire transportation industry. From that list, they could try to decipher which citations were most likely to happen at their facility.

“The problem is that the transportation industry is a general index, and there are big differences between safety concerns at a dealership and safety concerns at a shipyard, which means that OSHA’s list is too general to be helpful for most dealerships and service centers.”

Gosh, you’d think someone at OSHA would have been first with this Top 10 list, in the name of proactive governmental compliance guidance.

Then, just yesterday, in researching a piece on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission compliance help — and a perceived growing lack thereof by some employment attorneys — one of those attorneys pointed me to this tool at Biddle Consulting called the Adverse Impact Toolkit, which can audit and analyze all of a company’s practices—hiring, compensation, promotion, etc.—to determine risks that could spark or enflame an EEOC investigation.

Although all agencies do provide education and guidance, the list of regulations governing every industry is only getting more complex and hard to navigate. And, if we’re to believe a growing chorus of employment attorneys, governmental compliance help before a lawsuit or citation is filed is growing scarce.

I suspect I’ll be seeing a lot more of these kinds of tools hitting the market in the not-too-distant future.