February 16 2012
After an informal discussion letter the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued in November 2011 raised more questions than it answered, the agency decided to release additional guidance on when an employer potentially violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring employees to have a high school diploma. In the discussion letter, the EEOC stated that:
If an employer adopts a high school diploma requirement for a job, and that requirement “screens out” an individual who is unable to graduate because of a learning disability that meets the ADA’s definition of “disability,” the employer may not apply the standard unless it can demonstrate that the diploma requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity. The employer will not be able to make this showing, for example, if the functions in question can easily be performed by someone who does not have a diploma.
Even if the diploma requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity, the employer may still have to determine whether a particular applicant whose learning disability prevents him from meeting it can perform the
essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
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