Americans with Disabilities Act

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provided information in response to an inquiry about students who are not able to earn a high school diploma due to their disability and cannot obtain jobs. In an informal discussion letter, which is not an official opinion, EEOC said:

. . . if an employer adopts a high school diploma requirement for a job, and that requirement “screens out” an individual who is unable to graduate because of a learning disability that meets the Americans with Disabilities Act’s definition of “disability,” the employer may not apply the standard unless it can demonstrate that the diploma requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity. The employer will not be able to make this showing, for example, if the functions in question can easily be performed by someone who does not have a diploma.

In cases where a diploma requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity, the employer may still have to determine whether the applicant whose disability prevents her/him from earning a diploma can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without accommodations. EEOC developed a Q&A document about high school diploma requirements to augment its informal discussion letter.

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