The Internet is a great tool for companies that are seeking to decrease costs and increase efficiency, especially when it comes to the job application process. However, employers need to be aware of how directing applicants to the web can affect individuals with disabilities.
The general rule in regards to employment in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that, “no covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”
ADA-Friendly Job Application Process
Many hiring companies are now directing job candidates to the web to apply for jobs. While this makes it easier for the employer to pre-screen and filter the large amount of applicants, online job applications can be problematic for disabled individuals.
Employers must realize that it is ill-advised to mandate that all applicants apply for employment via the Internet. Obviously various disabilities (e.g., visual impairments) may preclude some applicants from effectively using Web-based processes.
As a result, employers must be flexible in their approach to hiring and not require that applicants exclusively seek employment via their technology platforms. It is prudent for employers to describe their hiring process and associated technologies to applicants and invite them to seek reasonable accommodation. As part of this approach, employers should be willing to provide non-technology-based accommodations including, but not limited to, paper-based application/assessment materials and readers for such materials.