The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) gives you more powerful protections against discrimination based on your disability than under federal laws. It protects you from discrimination in all aspects of your job and requires your employer to provide reasonable accommodations of your disability. This includes protecting you when you fill out a job application and are in a job interview.
Are You Required to Disclose Your Disability in a Job Application or Interview?
You are not required to disclose your disability in a job application or at a job interview. This is true even if you later need an accommodation. You are only required to disclose your disability when you need an accommodation—which could be months or years after you are hired. It is a good idea to make a request for accommodation in writing as well as orally and to keep a copy of it for your records.
What Can an Employer Ask About Your Disability When You Apply for a Job?
Before an employer offers you a job, he is prohibited from asking you questions that are likely to reveal information about your disability. This includes the following:
- Asking questions about a particular disability, like “Do you have a heart condition?”
- Asking questions about “major life activities” not related to the job, such as “Have you been able to take care of yourself at home?”
- Asking most questions about prescription drug use.
Your employer can require a post-offer, pre-employment medical examination or inquiry. However, the information must be kept confidential, and all applicants in the same job category must be asked the same questions and otherwise treated the same way. If an employer withdraws a job offer based on the exam or inquiry, he must prove that the reasons are “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”
Did your employer ask you questions about your disability in a job application or interview? You may have a claim for compensation under FEHA. Talk to an Orange County employment litigation attorney at 949-679-9909 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.