Monday, November 20, 2006

3195 ADA and employment screening

Sue Shellenberger's column in the WSJ a week or two ago had an interesting question. A mother wrote to ask if tests her son takes for employment which are boring and repetitive (to him) because he has attention deficit disorder and dyslexia are a legal way to discriminate against people with disabilities. He often didn't finish the tests.

Shellenberger replied that the ADA prohibits employers from using screening tests that eliminate candidates because of a disability--unless it measures qualities essential to performance.

Now think about it. If you quit the test before finishing it because it is boring, are you someone an employer would want on staff? How many jobs do you know that don't require some focus, some completion of boring tasks, or understanding what is read? How many careers start at the top with only the interesting stuff? How many jobs have you had that didn't require you to sit through boring meetings where people argued about the best place for a comma or semi-colon (I'm a retired librarian).

How would taking this exam orally (as he apparently did in school and his mother wanted for him in the real world) help him if he needed to shelve books by call number in a library, or stock shelves in an auto parts store, or read instructions on chemical cleaner bottles at a janitorial supply house?

I think this man has a mama problem, not a learning disability.


Susan said...

Yeah, it is a mommy problem. If I thought about all the stupid things I have trouble with at times due to ADHD, I'd never get a job!

Focusing, sitting still, concentrating,etc. all take a heck of a lot of mental energy for me, but I still do it. Even as a librarian, some jobs were a better fit than others, but when mommy isn't there for you, you learn your own unique way of getting it all done!

(I focus better at some times than others and I can sit still even though I want to get up and dance.)

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you sent me the link to your blog. YOur thoughts are so very refreshing, and I appreciate it. You keep writing & I'll keep reading.

Susan said...

Okay, I re-read your post when I was focusing better. Another thought about the test taking. Was the reason he did not complete the test because they were boring? Or, was it because he ran out of time?

Some times, I would rush through a test thinking I was doing a good job, but missing some key points. Other times, I would be so very careful, I would run out of time. Quit taking an important test because it was boring??? NEVER!!!!!