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WITH THE NEW DISABILITY ACT, WHAT CAN A JOB APPLICATION ASK?

 WITH THE NEW DISABILITY ACT, WHAT CAN A JOB APPLICATION ASK?
 PHILADELPHIA, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Have you ever been hospitalized? Have you ever been treated for any medical condition?
 These standard questions on job application forms, along with a number of others, can violate the new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that goes into effect July 26, 1992, according to labor law specialist Mike Carr of LaBrum and Doak.
 Carr is advising employers to review their job application forms and procedures to make sure they comply with the new law. Otherwise, these companies would be discriminating against disabled job applicants, and could subject themselves to litigation.
 The ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled people in employment, among other provisions. That means employers cannot discriminate against current, as well as future, disabled employees. "To comply with the ADA, companies need to eliminate any job application questions or procedures that are related to a disability," said Carr.
 Even though over the past few years many companies have streamlined their standardized job application forms, and have eliminated the medically related questions, many smaller firms are still pulling off the top sheet from the stack of old forms sitting in a desk drawer, Carr said.
 Carr suggests companies also eliminate the following questions that may still appear on job application forms:
 -- Have you ever had or been treated for any of the following conditions or diseases?
 -- Please list any condition or diseases for which you have been treated in the past three years.
 -- Have you ever been treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist?
 -- Have you had a major illness in the last five years?
 -- Do you have any disabilities or impairments which may affect your performance in the position for which you are applying?
 -- Are you taking any prescribed drugs?
 -- Have you ever filed for worker's compensation insurance?
 Instead, Carr recommends that job application forms only ask for employment history and education. "Even though the law prohibits an employer from asking about a prospective employee's disability, the employer can ask about an applicant's ability to perform specific job functions," Carr said.
 For example, an applicant for a truck driver's position who had a speech impediment could legally be asked how he would communicate with a dispatcher.
 Carr also recommends that employers review written job descriptions, making sure each one refers to every function that is considered essential for accomplishing the job. For example, a "file clerk" position may also include work at a copying machine and telephone switchboard.
 "It's best to prepare these materials now, before the act goes into effect," said Carr.
 LaBrum and Doak, one of the region's largest full-service law firms, was founded in Philadelphia in 1905. It also has offices in Norristown and Bethlehem, Pa., Woodbury, N.J., and New York City.
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 /CONTACT: Mike Carr of LaBrum and Doak, 215-865-2644, or Susan Gurevitz, 215-735-3200, or, 215-668-4335, for LaBrum and Doak/ CO: LaBrum and Doak ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


CC-KA -- PH004 -- 8439 05/11/92 09:00 EDT
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Date:May 11, 1992
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