Many of those with a disability are actively looking for work. Some will try to hide their disability from their prospective employers, but others cannot or will not. This can sometimes cause an issue as some hiring managers feel the need to question the applicant about their disability.
In most cases, this is not legal. For instance, you cannot simply ask the candidate if they are disabled, how long they’ve been disabled, or how it happened. Likewise, you cannot discriminate against a candidate because of a physical or mental disability.
Questions You Can Ask
You can ask the candidate whether they can meet certain physical or mental tasks that the successful applicant would be expected to complete. You can ask whether they would require any special accommodation to perform that task (e.g. a ramp, unique keyboard, etc.).
If they require reasonable accommodation, you can ask if they know about availability, and if there are any compatibility issues the candidate might know about.
If the candidate refuses any reasonable accommodation to complete the task, then you may not continue along this line of questioning. However, if you require all candidates to demonstrate their ability to do a task to demonstrate ability, you can do this.
Likewise, you can ask a candidate about their previous attendance record. The candidate should reveal any lengthy times they need to take time off, but they are under no obligation to tell you what medication they are taking or what it is for.
Those with a disability are not a burden on any workforce. Some research has found that those with a disability are just as, if not more productive than the rest of the population. Therefore, any disability should not be mentioned in an interview with a candidate.
However, you should discuss any challenges to complete tasks and what can be done to make those tasks easier for the candidate. But in reality, this is a good practice for any candidate whether they are disabled or not.
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