Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual

Rights and Responsibilities




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Employers and those referring Families First participants to employers may not impose qualification standards that screen out any individual with a disability or a class of individuals with disabilities unless such standards are shown to be job related and consistent with business necessity.




An employer may want to require each job candidate have a driver’s license. If driving is an essential function of the position, for example, a bus driver’s job no change in policy is required.  If the job can be done with accommodation (a personal driver, for instance), then the policy must include this accommodation.  However, if an applicant was seeking a position for which having a driver’s license is merely convenient (such as a secretarial position), the employer is prohibited from applying this requirement to an applicant who does not have a driver’s license because of a disability.


The ADA limits an employer’s ability to ask questions of applicants and employees regarding the existence, nature, or severity of a disability and to require medical examinations.  Employers may not ask disability related questions of applicants or require medical examinations before an offer of employment is made.  If an applicant has a known disability that may prevent the individual from performing the essential functions of the job, the employer may ask how, with or without reasonable accommodation, the applicant would perform the specific tasks required.




A Families First recipient has just applied for a job as a data entry clerk.  As she is filling out a personnel form, she mentions this is the first job she has had since she developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  The personnel manager cannot ask her for the name of her doctor so he can determine if she is currently under treatment.  However, the personnel manager may ask her to demonstrate or describe how she would perform her job-related duties. 


Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees to enable them to perform the essential functions of their jobs unless the employers can demonstrate that providing reasonable accommodations would cause undue hardships to them.  “Reasonable accommodation” includes, but is not limited to:


·        Modifying existing facilities to make them accessible.

·        Acquiring or modifying equipment.

·        Providing readers or sign language interpreters.

·        Offering part-time or modified work schedules.

·        Restructuring the duties of the job.


In determining whether an accommodation would impose an “undue hardship” on an employer’s business or program, the following factors should be considered:


·        The overall size of the business or program with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities, and size of the budget.

·        The type of the employer’s operation, including the composition and structure of the workforce.

·        The nature and cost of the accommodation needed.




A Families First recipient who uses a wheelchair obtains a job on the clerical staff of an employer whose offices are in a building that has two steps at the entrance.  The employer may be required to provide reasonable accommodation for the employee by providing a ramp at the building entrance. A job training program offered by an employer may be required to provide sign language interpreters for deaf employees when it is necessary to enable them to participate in the training.


DHS hires an accountant with impaired vision.  The Department may be required to provide reasonable accommodation for the accountant by obtaining computer equipment to enable the accountant to read printed material.



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