January 3, 2024
Source: U.S. Justice Department
The Justice Department announced today that it has secured a settlement agreement with the City of Miami Beach, Florida, to resolve its claims that the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by asking police applicants to take medical and psychological exams too early in the hiring process.
“The ADA bars employers from asking applicants about health or disability until the end of the hiring process,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our settlement with the City of Miami Beach will ensure that police applicants know that they are being evaluated based on their skills and qualifications, rather than on their disability.”
Under the ADA, employers are required to wait until a conditional job offer is made before asking about an applicant’s health or disability, including medical and psychological exams. This requirement helps an applicant know if their health or disability led to their offer being revoked, so they may challenge potential disability-based discrimination.
The department found that the city did not isolate medical and psychological exams at the end of the hiring process. Instead, it required police applicants to take medical and psychological exams before or at the same time as physical agility tests, and its review of information such as the candidate’s education, past employment, military service, finances, criminal history and social media posts.
Under the agreement, the city will ensure that its hiring practices comply with the ADA, including the timing of medical examinations, and will continue to train its employees on this requirement. When requested, the city will provide an applicant whose conditional job offer is revoked with the reason why, including any medical or disability-related reasons. The city will also host a training on the ADA and best practices for background investigations for representatives from Florida’s municipal and county law enforcement agencies. The city fully cooperated with the department’s investigation, including by voluntarily revising its background investigation process to fully align with the ADA.
This matter was handled by the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section. For more information on the ADA, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TTY 1-833-610-1264) or visit www.ada.gov. For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may file a complaint at www.civilrights.justice.gov.