Employment Law News: The EEOC and High School Diploma Requirements

By Rudman Winchell Attorney

Employment Law News: The EEOC and High School Diploma Requirements
By Anne-Marie Storey

Last November, the EEOC issued an informal discussion letter addressing the ADA’s application to basic job qualification standards, including a high school diploma. Based on the amount of feedback from that letter, the EEOC has now issued some additional clarification. This appears to be their current stance on the issue:

A business can still have a requirement that a job applicant have a high school diploma. However, if an applicant contends he/she was not able to obtain a diploma because of a disability, an employer may have to allow that individual to “demonstrate qualification for the job in some other way.” According to the EEOC, those other ways might include “considering work experience in the same or similar jobs, or allowing her to demonstrate performance of the job’s essential functions”. The letter also says that the employer does not have to “prefer the applicant with a disability over someone who can perform the job better” and that the employer can require the applicant to prove she has a disability and that the disability prevents her from obtaining the diploma.

The EEOC says that this informal discussion letter is not a change in the law and that it “simply applies the existing standards under the ADA and the EEOC’s regulations.” However, the fact that this is on its radar is a reminder that such a requirement could form the basis for a disability-related claim. The letter can be found at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/letters/2011/ada_qualification_standards.html .

For more information please contact Anne-Marie Storey at astorey@rudmanwinchell.com

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