The Traditional Post-Offer Selection Model as Influenced by the ADA

  • Pre-Offer
    • Written Civil Service Exam
    • Physical Agility Test
    • Oral Board
    • Pre-Offer Background
    • Pre-Offer Polygraph
  • Post-Offer
    • Psychological
    • Medical


Problems with the Current Selection Model

Many agencies that conduct a pre-offer background believe it is an adequate character review and do not follow-up post -offer with "medical" questions such as lifetime illegal drug use, alcohol use/abuse, suicide attempts, traumatic brain injury (combat veterans).

  • Some agencies don't believe they can reject applicants, post-offer, for drug/alcohol admissions because of the ADA
  • Some agencies intentionally sequence the post-offer psychological before the post-offer background in order to save money and investigator time

Net Effect: The psychological recommendation becomes a proxy for what should be a background rejection

Bifurcated Public Safety Selection Process

  • Pre-Offer
    • Written Civil Service Exam
    • Preliminary Background Screening
    • Physical Agility Test
    • Oral Board Exam
    • "Non-Medical" Background Investigation
    • "Non-Medical" Psychological Evaluation (eliminates 25% of applicants that are not suitable due to traits & characteristics)
  • Post-Offer
    • Background Investigation ("Medical" Questions)
    • Psychological Evaluation ("Medical" Tests, Questions & Interview)
    • Medical Examination
    • Polygraph
    • Hiring Meeting

With the Bifurcated model, employers will receive (pre-offer) a Suitability Assessment Report (SAR). The SAR is a new employment screening options available to public safety agencies. The SAR is administered prior to the Conditional Offer of Employment and assesses an applicant's non-medical personality traits, characteristics and behavioral history that are related to the performance of essential job functions. It does not include "medical" questions that must be delayed until after a conditional offer of employment (e.g., lifetime use of illegal drugs, use and abuse of alcohol, mental health history).

The SAR does not involve a face-to-face interview with a psychologist. It provides Concerns Ratings (Low, Medium, and High) for a number of essential job dimensions, as well as a bottom-line Suitability Rating. The SAR is compliant with the ADA and is designed to address the mandate by the Ninth Circuit Decision (Leonel vs. American Airlines) that non-medical screening of job applicants be conducted prior to a conditional offer of employment.