Ensuring ADA Compliance: A Case Study on Disability Discrimination and Best Hiring Practices

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by G. T. HR

Recently, GMRI, Inc., operating as Olive Garden, resolved a significant lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) concerning disability discrimination during the hiring process. This case sheds light on critical legal standards that every employer should adhere to. It also highlights how organizations like MyHRConcierge can guide businesses in fostering a compliant hiring environment and maintaining ADA compliance.

The Case Overview

In Tarentum, Pennsylvania, a general manager at an Olive Garden restaurant interviewed a busser applicant with a disability. The manager posed several inappropriate questions about the applicant’s disability, probing into the nature and severity of his condition. The manager posed questions about the applicant’s use of a cane to walk, what was “wrong with” the applicant and how “bad” the disability was. These inquiries were deemed illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits such discrimination. The EEOC charged the applicant was not hired due to this conduct, which led to EEOC litigation and a settlement. The settlement resulted in Olive Garden agreeing to pay $30,000 and commit to extensive non-monetary remedies, including training and reporting requirements.

Key Lessons for Employers for ADA Compliance

Training Hiring Managers on Appropriate Interview Questions

The Olive Garden case underscores the necessity for employers to train hiring managers thoroughly on ADA compliance. This training should cover which questions are permissible and how to focus on an applicant’s abilities rather than disabilities. MyHRConcierge offers specialized training modules that help hiring managers understand their obligations under the ADA and develop skills to conduct fair and effective interviews.

Crafting Comprehensive Job Descriptions

Job descriptions must clearly outline the essential functions and requirements of the position, including any physical or environmental conditions. This clarity helps potential applicants understand the role and assess their own suitability, reducing misunderstandings and potential discrimination. Employers should consult with experts like MyHRConcierge to ensure that their job descriptions are both comprehensive and compliant with federal and state standards.

Utilizing Job Descriptions in the Hiring Process

A well-defined job description is a fundamental tool during the interview process. It serves as a benchmark to evaluate all candidates equally, focusing on their ability to perform job-related tasks. Employers should train their hiring teams to use these descriptions as a guide to keep discussions relevant and non-discriminatory. They should also have new hires sign the job descriptions noting they understand the requirements and are able to fulfill the duties. MyHRConcierge can assist in developing these guidelines and provide ongoing support to ensure they are used effectively.

Importance of ADA Compliance

The settlement of the lawsuit against GMRI, Inc. serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of ADA compliance in the hiring process. By implementing rigorous training for hiring managers, creating detailed job descriptions, and utilizing these descriptions properly, employers can significantly reduce the risk of discrimination. MyHRConcierge stands ready to assist businesses in these endeavors, ensuring that they not only comply with the law but also embrace best practices in hiring to create a fair and inclusive workplace.

Enhancing ADA Compliance: How MyHRConcierge Supports Employers with Expert Policies and Consultation

MyHRConcierge’s SHRM certified HR consultants can help you maintain compliance with complex regulations like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). By implementing robust policies tailored to the specific needs of each business, MyHRConcierge ensures that employers not only meet the legal requirements but also foster an inclusive workplace. Their services and consultation include the development of customized policies that address ADA compliance and guidance on such matters as reasonable accommodations, non-discrimination practices, and accessibility standards. This proactive approach helps prevent potential legal issues and promotes a supportive environment for employees with disabilities.

Contact MyHRConcierge today at 855-538-6947 ext 108, ccooley@myhrconierge.com or schedule a convenient free consultation below: