Reminder: Disabled Job Candidates Are Entitled to the Same Accommodations As Employees 

Due to safety guidelines, you are probably conducting all interviews over the phone or via video conferencing. Fair enough.

What do you do if you have a hearing-impaired candidate who says that neither of those options works for her?

This is the type of situation that comes up from time to time, and people aren’t prepared for it. Sometimes, a recruiter may just make the decision not to move forward without thinking of the legal consequences–and that’s a problem.

Yesterday, employment attorney Stuart Silverman shared the story of Dorit Richardson on LinkedIn. Richardson declined a phone interview with Guidewire Software, due to her hearing loss, and the company countered with a video interview with a sign language interpreter. That seems like a pretty good accommodation, except Richardson doesn’t know sign language and uses cochlear implants and, again, requested an in-person interview. 

The company ghosted her at this point.

Another employment attorney, David Miklas, shared a story of an employer who called him with a question before making a decision. He quickly evaluated the situation and advised them on how to proceed. Billable amount? $21.

Now, I’m not guaranteeing that every interaction with an employment attorney will cost you $21. But, I am ensuring that if instead of ghosting Richardson, Guidewire Software had called their employment attorney, this attorney would have walked them through the interactive process. Most likely, they would have concluded that an in-person interview was a reasonable accommodation. (To be fair, Richardson’s lawsuit was before the shutdown and it’s possible that today, an in-person interview would not be reasonable.) Could that have cost $250? Sure. $500? Maybe. Is that less than $200,000? You do the math.

Your employment attorney won’t be right 100 percent of the time, but it gives your company far more security. 

Remind your staff that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to candidates as well as employees. And, some employment attorneys offer a kind of subscription service where you pay a flat fee and then can ask questions whenever you need. Even that will run you a lot less than the $200,000 Richardson rightfully received.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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