EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following informal discussion letter in response to an inquiry from a member of the public. This letter is intended to provide an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.
ADA: Hiring Discrimination; Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations
February 29, 2000
This letter responds to your letter of January 24, 2000, in which you ask the EEOC to draft a technical assistance letter essentially guaranteeing that employers can view streamsumes (streaming videos containing applicants' remarks) before making decisions about whom to interview, without contravening EEOC regulations. We cannot make such a guarantee in this letter. First, this letter does not constitute an official opinion of the EEOC, but is merely an informal discussion of the issues raised in your letter. Second, your letter does not contain sufficient information to enable us to identify and evaluate specific concerns that may arise from the use of "streamsumes".
Without knowledge of unique issues of discrimination resulting from the "streamsume" service, we can only reiterate certain general prohibitions outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Pursuant to these statutes, a potential employer is prohibited from using information relating to an individual's protected status (e.g., race, age, gender, national origin, disability, etc.) in the hiring process, and from making inquiries that are likely to elicit information about whether an applicant has a disability until it has made a conditional offer of employment.
Similarly, if a potential employer obtains information about an individual's protected status from the "streamsume", it cannot use this information to determine whether or not the individual will proceed in the hiring process. For example, if a potential employer learns from the "streamsume" that an individual is African American or has a disability, it cannot refuse to interview that individual because of his/her race or disability. If the employer decides to interview an applicant with a disability, it cannot make disability-related inquiries (other than inquiries that might be related to the applicant's need for reasonable accommodation) during the interview. The enclosed enforcement guidance discusses the ADA's limitations on the kinds of questions an employer may ask applicants about disability.
We hope this information is helpful. Please note once again that this letter is an informal discussion of the issues raised, and is not an official opinion of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Christopher J. Kuczynski
Assistant Legal Counsel
ADA Policy Division
This page was last modified on April 27, 2007.
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