Does an employer have to accommodate a job applicant with a disability who requests an accommodation during an interview?

Author: Melanie J. Perez-Vellios

An employer is not obligated in every instance to accommodate a job applicant with a disability who requests an accommodation. For instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require employers to change the essential requirements of the job. The requested accommodation must be reasonable and not cause the employer undue hardship.

The ADA also does not require employers to provide applicants or employees with the specific accommodation that they request if other reasonable accommodations are available. However, employers must engage in an interactive process to explore whether a possible alternate accommodation will allow an otherwise qualified applicant to perform the job requirements.

A primary purpose of the ADA is to allow qualified individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the workforce. As such, federal law mandates that employers provide reasonable accommodation for job applicants during the hiring process. This includes providing otherwise qualified applicants with equipment or devises necessary to compete in the hiring process. Some examples of reasonable accommodations during the hiring process include:

  • Providing alternative formats for written documents such as Braille or large print;
  • Ensuring interviewing and testing takes place in accessible locations;
  • Allowing additional time for taking written tests; and
  • Providing sign language interpreters or readers.