The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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ADA List of Do's and Don'ts for Employers

Reference Number: MTAS-1568
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: February 21, 2017
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Dos and Don’ts for Employers

  • Don’t ask an applicant about disabilities. You may, however, ask if they can perform the essential functions of the job.
  • Don’t have supervisors contact healthcare providers.
  • Do address conduct prohibited in the handbook even if that conduct is a result of a disability.
  • Don’t allow supervisors to determine ADA eligibility. Supervisors should not be determining if someone has a disability; but they should be able to recognize plain language that may infer the need for an accommodation based on a workplace barrier.
  • Don’t collect information that may violate GINA.
  • Do put descriptions in writing and identify the essential tasks of each job.
  • Don’t keep medical information in regular HR files. Keep medical information separate and secure.
  • Do review application forms, interviewing practices, and selection procedures to assure that uniform questions are asked of all applicants, and that disabled individuals are evaluated on whether or not they can perform the fundamental tasks of the job.
  • Don’t deny someone a reasonable accommodation unless you have explored all possible options.
  • Do review office layout to determine reasonable accommodations that could be made to existing facilities to permit accessibility and use by the disabled. This includes identifying auxiliary services for the visual and hearing impaired and considering job restructuring.
  • Don’t make assumptions about performance issues being a result of a disability.
  • Do review personnel policies to assure that none adversely impact the disabled in terms of the workplace and benefits.
  • Don’t require medical exams until after an offer is made.
  • Do educate employees and supervisors about ADA.
  • Don’t refer to someone’s disability during a discussion about work-related performance issues.
  • Do consider creating an ADA reasonable Accommodation Request Form.
  • Don’t require employment tests that may violate ADA.
  • Do discipline someone appropriately for being unable to perform the essential functions of the job, which may include attendance for many positions.
  • Do not count absences protected by FMLA or ADA.
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