Magazine article Workforce Management

'Integrity' Questioned

Magazine article Workforce Management

'Integrity' Questioned

Article excerpt

IN THE MAIL | from our readers

WHILE THERE HAS BEEN A LOT of confusion regarding the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals' recent decision regarding an employer's use of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, your publication's recent article titled "Court ruling that employer's integrity test violated ADA could open door to litigation" (September 2005) really takes this lack of understanding to a new level.

Contrary to the article's assertion that the MMPI is "the most popular screening test used by U.S. employers," it is not a commonly used test in the employment domain. In fact, it is used only by a handful of employers to screen for safety-sensitive positions (e.g., flight crew, nuclear plant operator, police officer)-except in some isolated, misguided instances like Rent-A-Center's use.

With respect to the recent litigation that stimulated the article, Karraker v. Rent-A-Center, the holding by the 7th Circuit has no impact on the vast majority of testing instruments utilized by employers. The instruments used by most employers were not developed to help identify any disabilities, nor do they contain items that are likely to reveal the existence of a disability. According to the ADA and extensive guidance provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, such tests are not medical in nature and can be administered prior to tendering a conditional offer of employment.

The 7th Circuit's opinion relied extensively upon long-existing EEOC guidelines regarding medical examinations, and merely reinforced the commonly held notion that the District Court had erred in deciding that the MMPI was not a medical test. The decision's impact is minimal except for correcting the District Court's misguided decision regarding when the MMPI can legally be administered. The opinion merely said that the MMPI could not be administered prior to an employer tendering a conditional offer of employment.

Flying in the face of your article's characterization that the MMPI is an integrity test, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that "psychological tests that are designed to identify a mental disorder or impairment qualify as medical examinations, but psychological tests that measure personality traits such as HONESTY (emphasis added), preferences and habits do not."

The article also indicated that a "recent survey found fewer than a dozen" lawsuits had been filed against employers for their use of integrity tests. …

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