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Non-discriminatory interview question Wisconsin

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  • Non-discriminatory interview question Wisconsin

    We are an agency that provides in home care to people with disabilities, and are finding that unfortunately people are not always forthcoming regarding their abilities to physically live up to some of the job expectations. We are trying to figure out a way to suss out if someone physically is unable to work within certain homes, and while I am hesitant to address it in an interview, I do not trust that those doing the interviews (supervisors, not me, HR) may accidentally say "Can you work with a hoyer lift or do you have a bad back" or something like that.
    We do have questions regarding finding a good match for a household, in which we ask "How would you feel working with someone who is non-verbal" and "How would you feel working with someone who is physically aggressive?" Would it in any way get us in trouble to have the question "How would you feel working with someone who required mobility assistance?"

  • #2
    You clearly need to get at the candidate's physical abilities (as many employers do) when interviewing the candidate but asking questions such as "do you have a bad back or any handicapps?") can definitely lead to big trouble under the ADA. The approach all smart employers take is to explain in detail the physical requirements of the job and ask "Are you able to handle all the physical demands of the job as I've explained them?" and "Would you need any reasonable accommodation to handle the physical demands of the job?"

    I also suggest questions in these sensitive areas be handled by HR, not the hiring managers if you really want to play it safe.


    • #3
      You may inform applicants of the essential functions of the job & ask if they
      can perform them with or without a reasonable accommodation. You can't though
      come right out & ask if the applicant has a disability or what the disability is.

      You can also ask applicants to demonstrate or tell you how they would perform
      the essential functions of the job. You do need to ask this of all applicants though
      & not just ones you suspect of having a disability.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.


      • #4
        We also serve people with disabilities, mostly mental health and intellectual disabilities, but we have several sites where the residents are also in wheelchairs.

        We require a pre-employment physical for all new-hire candidates. The clinics that do our physicals have our job descriptions, and are advised to ascertain whether the candidate can physically handle the physical demands of the job, as described in the job description. The job descriptions for the sites with physically disabled residents outline greater lifting ability. This pre-employment physical is actually pretty thorough, and not just cursory (more thorough than I get with my primary doc annually). When we give people an offer of employment, it's conditional on passing the background checks and the physical. We often to turn away people found to be ineligible.

        Also, it's perfectly fine to ask interviewees about their experience and desire to work with physically disabled adults, just like you ask about things like aggressive behavior, and non-verbal clients.


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