On September 7, the EEOC released an informal discussion letter that, while not an official opinion of the Commission, nonetheless reminds employers that they need to keep applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing in mind when extending invitations for digital interviews (typically video or virtual interviews). The inquiry that prompted the informal discussion letter came from an applicant who was invited by two different companies to participate in such interviews.
The ADA’s prohibition in Title I against discrimination in employment includes recruitment, advertising, job application procedures, and hiring. Title I also makes it illegal for covered entities to refuse "to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified applicant or employee with a disability" unless the entity can show it would cause "undue hardship."
Digital interview accommodations. The law requires that companies make hiring processes accessible to applicants with disabilities. So, if an applicant requests a reasonable accommodation to proceed with a digital interview, or requests a different interview method as a reasonable accommodation, the company will violate the ADA if it refuses to provide one and cannot show undue hardship.
- Companies that use digital interviews should make sure that applicants are given contact information through which reasonable accommodation requests may be made when necessary.
- Companies should reconsider practices that merely warn applicants that contacting the company will result in disqualification, without providing any contact information through which reasonable accommodation requests may be made.
- Employees who need reasonable accommodations to digital interviews, including alternative processes, should make sure they clearly state that due to a disability they may have difficulty with the digital interview, or that they would like to continue the interview process in a different manner.