HRMT413 Week 2 Discussion
This week, we will discuss the legal protections afforded to individuals under the ADA.
What is the definition of a qualified disability? In your informed opinion, is this definition sufficient to protect both employees and employers? Do you agree with the legal position that employers must make reasonable accommodations for an individual deemed to have a qualifying disability? Lastly, is an employee's request for a remote work arrangement an undue hardship? Why or why not?
As stated on the Americans Disability Act’s website, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people from being discriminated by due to a disability. The disability can be physical and/or mental. The ADA requires the employers to not discriminate against people and ensure they have reasonable accommodations. To be considered a “qualifying disability” it must be physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity. If the disability is minor or temporary, it is not covered under the ADA. Examples of Major life activities include but not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working
In my opinion, I believe the definition is written in a way that protects both the employer and employee. Reason, for the employee, it was written to ensure that person will not be discriminated upon and under some circumstances the employee may not have to divulge one or all their disabilities. As far as the employer, when the data collection sheet indicates you have a veteran with disabilities, it does not require for the individual to state what that disability is but, it opens the communication lines as to what the organization can do to accommodate that individual. If any questions or concerns arise after that, seek legal advice. I believe it is written fairly.
Reasonable Accommodations: I agree that employers should make accommodations for the disabled employee. I believe it discriminates against them when accommodations are not met. The organization could lose amazing employees by not accommodating. For example, maybe employees require VariDesks (Desks that raise and lower), or levers/actuators to enter restroom facilities. An organization has to decide, is it work losing a good employee due to not placing accommodations such as these, also, will it be worth the potential lawsuit for discrimination.
Remote Work Arrangement. Do I believe it is an undue hardship? I believe that is subject to the position and/or organization. For example, in my unit at my job, we have three people on our budget team that are not located in the state. They telework from home every day, and only come to Headquarters when major meetings require their presence; on average 2-4 times a year. One the other side of the coin; we have some employees who work hand in hand with our contracting companies that work on Missile Defense; which based on that title, one can understand that most, if not all the data, meeting notes and presentations are classified. A person who works closely like this, could not remote work due to potential data spills or hacking. An organization needs to review each request on a case by case basis.
Finally, I learned something in addition to this reading. I am currently in another course, HRMT 415, Human Resource Management Information Systems (HRMS), and I learned that some organizations are using personality assessments that violate or run the risk of violating the ADA.
In an article I read on the SHRM website, called “What do personality Tests Really Reveal”, written by D. Meinert. It stated that, some personality tests reveal mental illnesses, due to some of the questions being similar to a medical evaluation.
In another article I read called, “A Barrier to Employment of Mentally Ill, on the Healthy Place website, it stated that some employers and organizations were being held responsible for employees who do crimes like, rape assaults and theft, based on negligence of hiring practices. Basically, stating that the employee should have done a better job in screening out the individual prior to hiring. That puts the employer in a hard spot. If they do the personality screening and discover the individual has a mental instability, can they elect not to hire that person and not violate the ADA. Or…… what if the person has a past record of violence, spent several years in an institution and is now deemed suitable to return to society; can you they elect not to hire someone who has changed their life?
Finally, I also read in an article called, “Psychological Exams and Personality Tests in Employment “, by A. Quilantan, it stated that states like Idaho undergo many lawsuits due to negligent hiring practices where an employee has committed a crime and that personality trait or mental disability should have been discovered during the hiring process. It is so severe to the point where applicants have alleged invasion of privacy due to the psychological and/or personality tests. In fact, Idaho law does recognize a claim for invasion of privacy for “intrusion upon a person’s seclusion or solitude, or into his or her private affairs.”
Organizations should work hand in hand with their legal department and HR department to ensure they are doing due diligence with screening employees without violating the ADA, as well as provide accomodations to those who have disabilities.
Meinert, D. (2020, May 7). What Do Personality Tests Really Reveal? SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/0615-personality-tests.aspx
Personality Tests: A Barrier to Employment of Mentally Ill | HealthyPlace. (2011, June 21). HEALTHY PLACE. https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2011/06/personality-tests-a-barrier-to-employment
Quilantan, A. (2019, January 11). Psychological Exams and Personality Tests in Employment: A Fine Line. Hawley Troxell. https://hawleytroxell.com/2019/01/psychological-exams-and-personality-tests-in-employment-a-fine-line/