The Equal Opportunity Act 1995 prohibits both intentional and unintentional discrimination. It is worth noting, therefore, that the lawfulness of the selection process does not rest upon the intentions of the Selection Panel but on the way in which the process is conducted e.g. appropriate questioning of applicants.
Questions relating to a disability or injury
The only questions you can ask about a disability or injury relate to:
- any adjustments required to ensure the interview/selection process is fair and equitable
- what impact the disability will have on the capacity of the applicant to meet the inherent requirements of the position, with reasonable adjustments being made
- any adjustments that may be required to complete the inherent requirements of the job.
Any other questions about an individual's disability are inappropriate, including questions about:
- how the individual acquired their disability
- specific details of the individuals disability.
Inappropriate vs appropriate questions
Inappropriate: "I notice that you have some difficulty walking and I wonder how you get around. What caused it? Did you have an accident or is this a congenital condition?
Appropriate: "This position will require the staff member to drive a University vehicle on a regular basis. This is one of the inherent requirements of the position that we need to check with all applicants. Do you have a current driver's licence and are you able to meet this criterion?"
Inappropriate: "how will the pressure of tight deadlines affect your disability?"
Consider asking: "this job involves working under pressure to tight deadlines. Tell us about a situation where you've been under pressure and how you ensured you met deadlines"
Inappropriate: describing the tasks involved in the job and asking the candidate what they won 't be able to do because of their disability ...
Consider: describing the inherent requirements of the job and ask if the candidate will need any adjustments to perform them
Always avoid asking: "what happened to you - how did you get your disability?"