Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Brave New, Though Likely Illegal, World

According to a TechCrunch article, the Prophecy Sciences employment assessment "seeks to analyze the unique blend of chemical reactions, electrical impulses, reflexes and behaviors that make you who you are ..." In addition to testing accuracy and response time, The test monitors job applicant eye movement, pulse rate and electrodermal activity. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from administering pre-employment medical examinations. Guidance by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines medical examination under the ADA by reference to seven factors, any one of which may be sufficient to determine that a test is a medical examination. One of those factors is whether the test measures an applicant's physiological responses to performing a task. Prophecy Sciences test measures pulse rate, eye movement and electrodermal activity (physiological responses) as applicants perform the task of taking the test.

The EEOC guidance states:
[I]f an employer measures an applicant's physiological or biological responses to performance, the test would be medical.
Example:  A messenger service tests applicants' ability to run one mile in 15 minutes. At the end of the run, the employer takes the applicants' blood pressure and heart rate. Measuring the applicant's physiological responses makes this a medical examination.

Even if one were to disregard the medical examination problem, how does this test work with persons who have physical disabilities? Would blindness have an impact on the eye movement measure? How would limb paralysis effect the skin sensors? 

How would Stephen Hawking perform on this test?

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