Disabled job applicant: Approach gingerly

At times, a disabled job applicant can put you smack in the middle in your effort to decide what's right, what's legal, and what's allowable. Also, disabled or not, you want to give qualified candidates a fair chance at the job.


At times, a disabled job applicant can put you smack in the middle in your effort to decide what's right, what's legal, and what's allowable. Also, disabled or not, you want to give qualified candidates a fair chance at the job. At the same time you must keep in mind that you're responsible for your department's productivity and bottom line performance.

When George Clement, a planning engineer, answered a help wanted ad he was screened by personnel and sent to the plant engineering department to be interviewed. Plant Engineer Ed Gilcrist was tied up at a meeting and delegated that task to Harry Fairchild, his assistant.

Reviewing his application form and resume Fairchild judged the applicant to be qualified, but he had one reservation. Clement, who wore thick glasses, apparently had very poor vision.

Fairchild asked, "Since you will be spending much of your time at a computer monitor, won't your vision impair your performance and make you susceptible to errors?"

"Not at all," Clement replied.

Fairchild still wasn't satisfied. "Will you need any special accommodation because of your vision?"

"None other than a bright light at my workstation."

"Just how bad is your vision? Are there any further corrective measures you could take?"

The questions angered the applicant. "I can handle the job. That's all you need to know under the law."

The response took Fairchild aback. He wanted to hire the man, but was afraid to take an initiative that might backfire.

"I'd like Ed Gilcrist to see you. He'll be available in an hour if you want to hang around or you can come back."

"I'll wait," Clement said.

Question: In Fairchild's place, would you hire Clement?

Gilcrist's decision: When the plant engineer returned, Fairchild filled him in on his interview with Clement.

The executive examined his resume. "Interviewing a disabled person can be touchy at times," Gilcrist conceded. "You did the right thing holding him off if uncertain. Asking him if his vision would impair his job performance or require special accommodation were proper questions. Probing details of his disability was in violation of recent Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines issued by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC). When a disabled person affirms his disability will not impair his performance you have to take him at his word. Send the applicant to my office. I'll probably hire him."

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me