Q. When interviewing prospective employees, will I violate the ADA by asking how many days of work they missed during the past year at their prior jobs?
A. Employers may ask applicants general questions about their attendance at prior jobs. For example, it’s permissible to ask, “How many days of work did you miss at your prior job during the past year?” You may also state your attendance requirements and ask if the applicant can meet those standards.
You may not, however, ask questions likely to elicit information about a disability. For example, you can’t ask an applicant how many days he was sick or whether he took sick leave. Such questions are likely to elicit specific information about an applicant’s disability or its severity. Thus, they are prohibited.