The Use of Screening and Selection Techniques under the ADA: Implementations for Employers
Philip G. Benson
On February 14, 1992, Frank Tafoya was undergoing a physical agility test as part of the screening process for security guards with the Albuquerque, New Mexico, Public Schools (APS). During a running portion of the exam, he suffered a heart attack and died. In December 1993, his family filed a lawsuit against APS, claiming that the cause of death was negligence on the part of APS, requiring him to exert himself beyond his capacities, and placing him at risk for such an outcome ( Burks, 1993). As a proposed settlement, the family is suing for $750,000.
While such a death is indeed tragic, it will apparently take a court decision to determine the legal liability in this case. The mere fact, however, that such a suit has been filed raises serious concerns for employers. Who is responsible for such an outcome? In particular, passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) raises the question of allowable practices in the recruiting, screening, and hiring of employees. It is the implications of the ADA for the recruiting and screening process that will be the primary focus of this chapter. In particular, it is the use of tests (broadly defined) in hiring, and the implications such procedures have for fairness, that will be discussed.
This chapter will begin with a general discussion of the hiring process under the ADA. Then, specific issues will be addressed regarding the use of tests. Particular attention will be given to issues of reasonable accommodation in the use of the tests, and what this accommodation implies for the validity of the