Businesses often and routinely require job applicants to possess a high school diploma for certain positions, but a Dec. 2 opinion letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicates that this requirement may be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The reasoning behind this, according to the author, EEOC attorney-advisor Aaron Konopasky, is that some individuals are unable to obtain high school diplomas because of learning disabilities.

The author opines: “Even if the diploma requirement is job-related and consistent with business necessity, the employer may still have to determine whether a particular applicant whose learning disability prevents him from meeting it can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.”

Though such informal letters do not carry the weight of  law, this one could indicate that the EEOC is moving in the direction of saying that requiring a high school diploma could have a disparate impact on a certain class of individuals.

Employers and HR professionals should avail themselves of Personnel Concepts EEO Compliance Program to ensure they're observing all job applicants' and employees' rights under federal law. Get yours today.