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Can a hiring company ask you about a disability?

No matter who you are, a job interview can be both exciting and stressful. You are excited about the prospect of landing a new position, but stressed out over the fact that you may not be selected.

If you are disabled in any way, you have something else to worry about: Will the hiring company discriminate against you because of your disability?

A hiring company is not allowed to ask if you are disabled during a job interview. Furthermore, they are not permitted to ask about the severity or type of disability.

However, a company is permitted by law to ask if you are able to perform the job as it stands or if you need reasonable accommodation. You should not take this the wrong way. Instead, it is good to be asked this question as it gives you the chance to discuss your situation and ensure the interviewer that you are more than capable of performing the responsibilities of the job.

If you are asked how you will perform the duties of the job, explain your situation and whether or not you require reasonable accommodation.

There is a lot of gray area, both for employers and applicants, regarding disability discrimination. If you are disabled, don't stress out over the interview process. You know you are qualified for the position, and you should do whatever it takes to prove this when speaking with the hiring party.

When a company violates the law with regard to asking about a disability during an interview, the applicant may decide to take action.

Source: Workplace Fairness, "Disability Discrimination," accessed July 14, 2015

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