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Hiring Questions about Applicant Pool and an Applicant with Known Disabilities

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Reviewed Date: May 16, 2017

Original Author: 
Stokes, Richard
Date of Material: 
Aug 13, 2012

Personnel--Selection and recruitment
Disabled--Laws and regulations

Hiring Questions about Applicant Pool and an Applicant with Known Disabilities

MTAS was asked for advice when there is a very small applicant pool and one applicant has a known disability that might affect his or her ability to perform the job.

Knowledgebase-Hiring Questions about Applicant Pool and an Applicant with Known DisabilitiesFrom: Stokes, Richard L
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2012 4:14 PM
Subject: RE: Hiring Question

Sorry for the delay in responding to your inquiry. I was in Chattanooga most of last week at an agency wide conference.

You seem to have a pretty good handle on the issues. I agree that the city should probably extend the applicant period to allow more applicants to apply. I also agree that the Chief should hire the best fit for the job (not necessarily the most qualified). I also agree that the medical condition of the applicant should not be taken into consideration even if you know about it but he did not bring it up. Under the ADA, you are not permitted to ask about a disability or the prognosis of the disability. You are also prohibited from asking if the applicant will need an accommodation. The candidate must tell you that he/she needs an accommodation. The only thing the city can ask is if the candidate can perform the essential functions of the job. You can send the applicant to your doctor with a job description and ask the doctor to tell you if the applicant can perform the essential functions of the job.

I disagree with your assessment, however, that the City doesn't have to give a reason for not hiring an applicant. This is a BAD practice. If the city is sued by EEOC, the first things they will ask are "why did you hire the person you hired" and "why didn't you hire any of the other applicants". You will need to respond to both questions. You will have to tell why you didn't hire each candidate.

Something that you might try to recruit potential candidates is to go to the local senior citizen center or to the school during a PTA meeting and see if anyone is interested in applying. Provide them with the information and hope they follow through.

I agree that the city could hire the individual and dismiss him during the probationary period If things don't work out.

I hope this information is helpful. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or I can be of any further assistance.
Richard L. Stokes, IPMA-CP, PHR
Office Manager/Human Resources Consultant Executive Director - TN Chapter IPMA-HR The University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service
226 Capitol Blvd. Bldg., Suite 606
Nashville, TN  37219
615/532-6827 (office)
615/532-4963 (fax)

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Information written by MTAS staff was based on the law at the time and/or a specific sets of facts. The laws referenced may have changed and/or the technical advice provided may not be applicable to your city or circumstances. Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information posted to this website.