Employers that rely on a web-based application and recruiting processes should examine their websites for compliance with the ADA’s employment provisions which require accessibility and accommodation in the hiring process. A recent OFCCP Directive sets forth the agency’s policy on review of employer websites where applications are solicited:
Effective immediately, all compliance evaluations shall include a review of the contractor’s online application systems to ensure that the contractor is providing equal opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans. The review should include whether the contractor is providing reasonable accommodation, when requested, unless such accommodation would cause an undue hardship. In this directive, the term "online system" shall include, but not be limited to, all electronic or web-based systems that the contractor uses in all of its personnel activities.
Website accessibility is a growing issue as we discussed in a prior post highlighting a lawsuit under the ADA against Target Corporation’s commerce site: Business Websites Face Americans with Disabilities Act Accommodations Claims. Given the OFCCP’s initiatives on systemic discrimination, this area is ripe for compliance activity.
The OFCCP has recommended the following action steps in a recent webinar:
- Prominently display a notice outlining your reasonable accommodation process, & provide timely & effective accommodation.
- If kiosks are used, ensure that they are physically accessible.
- Allow people who cannot use the online system because of a disability to apply in an alternate way.
- Consider designing online systems using universal design techniques & interoperable technology to:
- Reach out to and receive applications from qualified applicants with disabilities, and
- Minimize the need for individual reasonable accommodations.
Resources for evaluating accessibility of system including the interoperability with assistive technologies can be found at Accessible Systems Racing League. The OFCCP’s Power Point Training Program entitled Accessible Online Applications Systems and Tools for Achieving Them is also a good resource.