GUEST POST: The ADA and Test-Taking

February 15, 2013
By Eric B. Meyer on February 15, 2013 7:00 AM | | Comments

guestblogger.jpgToday we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It's my colleague, Katharine Hartman. Katharine is an associate in Dilworth Paxson's Labor & Employment Group, but also asked that I give a little shoutout to our new Test Publishing, Certification and Licensure Group.

So holla!

After the jump is a little cross-over between the two. Hope you like it.

(Want to guest blog at The Employer Handbook? Email me).

As you likely already know, the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") requires reasonable accommodation in employment, including the hiring process. This can include providing accommodations in pre-employment testing, such as altered time limits, testing formats, or even test content.

Beyond employment testing, all sponsors of examinations for any purpose must also comply with the ADA with respect to their non-employee test-takers. The Law School Admission Council, Inc. ("LSAC"), the nonprofit company that develops and administers the Law School Admission Test ("LSAT"), is currently defending against a class action in the Northern District of California in which the State of California and the United States Department of Justice allege that the LSAC repeatedly failed to grant ADA accommodation requests to test-takers who claimed to have various disabilities. The Complaint alleges (among other things) that the LSAC flags the score reports of accommodated test-takers, thus singling them out in the competitive law school admissions process. The LSAC initiated related litigation earlier this year against the state of California, alleging that a new state law prohibiting the LSAC from flagging accommodated score reports violates the LSAC's constitutional rights, including its right to freedom of speech. On February 1st, a California Superior Court Judge agreed with the LSAC and preliminarily enjoined the enforcement of the law. 

You can view the decision here.

As you can see, compliance with the ADA in the realm of high-stakes testing can be tricky.