Use of MMPI in Employment Violates Disability Law, Appeals Court Says

The Journal of Employee Assistance, October 2005 | Go to article overview

Use of MMPI in Employment Violates Disability Law, Appeals Court Says


Administering the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) to assess whether employees deserve promotions violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because the MMPI is designed to reveal mental disorders, a federal appeals court ruled in June.

The ADA limits the ability of employers to use "medical examinations and inquiries" as a condition of employment and specifically bars those that screen out (or tend to screen out) people with disabilities. The three plaintiffs who brought suit against their employer had been asked to answer 502 questions from the MMPI in order to qualify for a promotion; any applicant for promotion could be denied solely on the basis of his or her score on the inventory.

The MMPI is widely utilized to assist with the diagnosis of mental disorders and the selection of appropriate treatment methods. It is used to help identify suitable candidates for high-risk public safety positions, support classification and treatment decisions in criminal justice and correctional settings, evaluate participants in substance abuse programs and select appropriate treatment approaches, and provide valuable insight for marriage and family counseling.

The use of the MMPI in this case was deemed "pre-employment" for ADA purposes because the plaintiffs were seeking new positions. …

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Use of MMPI in Employment Violates Disability Law, Appeals Court Says
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