According to the US Department of Labor (DOL), the “Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government programs.” Title I of the ADA requires companies to abide by these regulations for employees and applicants alike.
Many companies are moving to digital applications and assessments, so the best way for websites and testing platforms to be accessible is to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1). Here’s why accessibility is so important in the hiring process.
Why does ADA compliance apply to the hiring process?
Since the ADA protects those with disabilities throughout employment, the pre-employment process is also included. That means that companies with 15 or more employees and state and local government employers need to remain compliant.
Whether a company can’t provide equal consideration to people with disabilities because their website isn’t accessible or they don’t fulfill a candidate’s request for a reasonable accommodation, there could be major consequences. Not only could a company lose out on a talented employee, but they put themselves at risk for legal action. Reputation also plays a major role in the success of any company, and the pre-employment process is a great opportunity for a company to demonstrate its commitment to inclusion and diversity from the very beginning.
WCAG 2.1 enhances WCAG 2.0 and other 2018 updates
2018 saw some welcome changes to web accessibility. With requests for the Department of Justice to formalize website accessibility regulations, momentum is moving in the right direction. Courts are also upholding that websites are places of public accommodation, meaning websites need to comply with ADA regulations. Plus, WCAG saw updates, as WCAG 2.1 was published to enhance the ten-year-old WCAG 2.0.
With technology continually changing, updated guidelines have been long awaited. Remember that WCAG 2.1 adds to and does not replace WCAG 2.0 — so if you comply with WCAG 2.1, you’re automatically in compliance with WCAG 2.0.
Ways Employers Can Remain Compliant
So what does this have to do with the hiring process? As mentioned, businesses are required to remain compliant with the ADA at all points in the hiring process and employment, whether that’s in the initial application or an employee’s last day with the company.
When a company posts a job online, the posting should be tested for accessibility to make sure it remains compliant. The site or digital assessment platform should also be thoroughly tested so that the common and requested use cases — the tasks candidates will be asked to complete — are considered and work from start to finish.
Of course, any requests for reasonable accommodation must be met to ensure that disability does not unfairly impact a hiring decision. In the digital word, creating accessible experiences from the beginning may be one of the best ways to avoid unforeseen consequences and discriminatory hiring practices.
Partner With BoIA
The best thing you can do to remain compliant is to partner with BoIA. We partner with you to run comprehensive compliance tests to ensure that your site is accessible according to the latest WCAG 2.1 standards.
If you’ve received a demand letter or you want to start the compliance audit process, talk to us. Or, start with a free and confidential website scan.