Author: Equip for Equality
Last updated: October 2007
No. While many employers use personality tests to screen out potential employees, a recent case (Karraker v. Rent-A-Center) decided that this practice is not allowed by the The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
This case was decided in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The court stated that the use of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) violated the ADA because it is a "medical examination" that has the effect of screening out individuals with mental illness.
The court in Karraker found that:
Employers may require medical examinations of potential employees after the employer has offered them a job, or of current employees. The purpose of the medical examination must be "job-related or consistent with business necessity." In other words, there must be a reasonable basis for requiring the examination.
If an employer gives a medical examination to a job applicant, the employer must give medical examinations to everyone applying for that position. As with any employment-related activity, the employer must provide reasonable accommodations for medical examinations.
While the decision of Karraker involved the use of the MMPI personality test at the job application stage, the court’s decision calls into question the use of all personality tests at any stage of the employment process. Employers are recommended to examine their current employment practices to make sure these practices do not violate the ADA by using personality tests that reveal and/or screen out certain disabilities.
Employers should ask themselves the following questions:
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