EEOC: Requiring diploma may violate disabilities act

Requiring job applicants to have a high school diploma may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. From the Washington Times:

The “informal discussion letter” from the EEOC said an employer’s requirement of a high school diploma, long a standard criterion for screening potential employees, must be “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.”

Employers could run afoul of the ADA if their requirement of a high school diploma “‘screens out’ an individual who is unable to graduate because of a learning disability that meets the ADA’s definition of ‘disability,’” the EEOC explained.

While the letter doesn’t carry the force of law, employers can’t afford to ignore it, labor lawyers say. I doubt “help wanted” ads will say: “High school diploma required, unless you have a learning disability.” Perhaps they’ll be allowed to say “high school diploma preferred.”

Employers don’t like to hire dropouts — even those who’ve earned a GED — because they fear they’re unable to work within a system.

Some fear more high school students will drop out if they see employers no longer require a diploma for entry-level jobs.