Disability hiring starts with considering all applicants
There are certain patterns you can see in a resume that signal someone is dealing with a disability. Each resume leaves us hints about life events and perhaps what someone is currently going through.
Each resume tells a story both in what is included as well as what is omitted. To be more inclusive in hiring people with disabilities, pause to dig into these resumes further.
Resumes we see on a regular basis:
A person is seeking employment after a 5 year employment gap. Perhaps they are recovering after an injury or illness?
A person has a series of very short duration jobs that all seem to end abruptly. Are they struggling with their mental health or finding accommodation difficult in their workplace?
A person takes a step backwards in their career into a less prestigious role or perhaps even a part time role. Are they currently dealing with a newly emerged disability? Are they trying to find something that’s less pressure so they can focus on their health?
Any one of these resumes would raise an eyebrow of a recruiter and these people are the first ones to put on the “no” pile. If you want to make your organization more inclusive towards hiring people with disabilities, the first thing you can do is re-consider these applicants.
Take a chance and give them a phone call. Look at their resume a second time. Finally, don’t rush to make any conclusions about their work ethic or “culture fit” based solely on a sheet of paper.
Disability hiring is human hiring. You are not recruiting for a machine–you are recruiting for humans. And sometimes humans (and life) takes a non-linear path.
Everything you Know about Disability Inclusion is WRONG
Summary of Event
Everything You Know about Disability Inclusion is WRONG! In this hour long presentation, Disability:IN Central Texas brings together a panel of leading disability inclusion experts who will share their hot takes on what companies, leaders, HR, and even your well-meaning coworkers get wrong about disability hiring and inclusion. We debunk myths, share our real world stories, and get real about disability etiquette.
Everything you know about disability inclusion is WRONG…well maybe not everything, but we all have something we can learn!
Key Points from the Webinar
A big thanks to Kate, Dylan, and Chris for their insights into this topic. Feel free to connect with any of these panelists regarding questions you have about disability inclusion. This panel was moderated by Myles Wallace.
If you want to hire people with disabilities, Peak Performers is happy to help. If your business is looking for a peer group to support you as you work towards disability inclusion, consider becoming a member of Disability:IN at the local or national level.
We encourage you to watch the whole video. Below is the executive summary of key questions and answers from the panelists.
What steps are companies taking to be more inclusive, where are they at, and what do they still need to do?
The pandemic has made many companies more aware of the health needs of their employees and made them more likely to grant accommodations.
Companies still have an opportunity to invest more in disability hiring and retention similar to how they do with other DE&I programs and to reinforce learning so that disability inclusion is something that stays top of mind even as the pandemic fades away.
COVID has forced many companies to invest and take seriously work from home as an accommodations. Digital collaboration tools have made it easier for the disabled community to find jobs and participate in the workforce. This has been a boon for many workers.
Companies still have an opportunity to be more welcoming to employees and explicitly state that accommodations are available to employer upon request.
Companies need to be aware as they bring companies back into the workplace that many people have developed disabilities during the pandemic. Companies have an opportunity to step-up and be more welcoming to all people with disabilities.
During the talent acquisition phase, companies can be doing more to build a welcoming space where all feel invited to apply. We should also be moving towards a point where accommodations are not a big deal and a quick conversation.
How have well-meaning coworkers and bosses accidentally insulted or been non-inclusive. What could they have done differently in those situations?
Sometimes coworkers feel like they need to walk on eggshells around me and don’t know how to include me. So instead they just didn’t include me.
If you’re on the fence about how to include somebody in your workspace, just ask. Use an open-ended question and allow the person with a disability to specify what they’re comfortable with.
It’s important to hold your workers with disabilities to the same standards as people without. We don’t need to be babied, and we take great pride in our work.
Also, don’t come down hard on employees, disabled or not. Instead have constructive coaching conversations with the goal of providing feedback and helping people improve.
If you’re working around people with disabilities, you’re probably going to say or do the wrong thing. Listen for feedback, own your mistakes, and seek to do better next time.
Don’t rush to assumptions. We need to work towards intentional inclusion and express an earnest curiosity about people with disabilities. You have a lot to learn from their lived experience
Also, as a person with a disability, don’t be afraid to speak up and express what you need to be successful.
What does disability etiquette mean to you?
Treat people with disabilities like anyone else. Treat them with respect. Just try to be a good human.
Also, ask questions, be curious, but don’t be condescending.
Be intentionally inclusive. Be accommodating, accepting, and acknowledge the people with disabilities around you. This doesn’t need to be complicated.
It sometimes take a moment of confrontation for us to do better. Don’t shut down when you are confronted. It’s a work in progress for all of us.
Furthermore, many of us have different experiences within our own disability culture. Don’t make assumptions about that person’s experience or preference. You’ll have to engage with each person with a disability in a unique way.
What is the difference between bias and discrimination?
Bias is how we interpret situations without conscious thought. Discrimination is more of an action and intentionally preventing someone access to something.
Bias often comes down to a perception. When you act on that perception and intentionally withhold resources that we get into discrimination. Also, when you intentionally create barriers towards someone because of your perception of them, that’s when we get into the area of discrimination.
I think it’s important to point out where biases come from: stereotypes. Stereotypes fuel our biases and then our biases become beliefs and this ultimately leads us to taking actions against people and discriminating.
We also have to quit using labels. Labels belong on soup cans not on me. Furthermore, we have to stop putting labels on other people as a way to empower ourselves by putting others down.
What interesting conversations have you had with a professional with a disability on your podcast?
I talked with someone from Red Cross and how he’s seen Employee Resources Groups (ERGs) positively impact his organization. The Red Cross wanted to be more inclusive towards people with disabilities but failed to include that in any of their messaging. We can all do a better job at broadcasting individually and as organizations that we’re disability-inclusive.
What training were you exposed to within organizational development and what would you have liked to see around disability inclusion in these trainings?
A lot of people accidentally fall into Human Resources. This leads to many issues in the workplace with people lacking formalized training. We need to spend more focus and training on people who “fall into” human resource roles.
At the local, state, and federal level and what would you hope to change regarding disability inclusion?
At the federal level, I would work to permanently remove the sub-minimum wage.
On the state level, we’re missing access to community-base options. We have people with disabilities waiting too long to get access to services.
At a local level, it’s important to ensure that people with disabilities have a seat at the table and representation in local government.
Making Meaningful Change to Disability Inclusion and Hiring
After explaining Peak Performers Staffing Agency mission of hiring people with disabilities to a new person, I experience a range of emotional reactions ranging from enthusiasm to curiosity to indifference.
But my least favorite reaction is…
“Well, good for you. I’m glad someone is helping those people.”
While this seems like a benign statement, what is often implied here is “someone else is helping people with disabilities so I don’t have to.” Furthermore, the speaker usually makes it pretty clear in the statement that they are not part of this “other” group of people.
Not my Problem?
It’s estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that disability affects 26% of the population. This is not a mysterious group of “other” people. These are your friends and family, your bosses and coworkers, maybe even you.
Furthermore, the longer that you live, the more likely it is that you will acquire a disability through accident or aging. Looking out for disability inclusion is not only looking out for other’s well-being but also your own future well-being.
Access to accommodations, embracing an inclusive environment, and hiring diverse people with disabilities directly makes your workplace better and helps ensure you will have a future there.
We’re All in this Together
Disability inclusion is a direction, not a destination. This direction is the result of effective leadership, policy changes, and hiring goals. But meaningful change really happens through one hiring decision at a time, one job accommodation at a time, one work conversation at a time. Change happens through small incremental steps you have the power to impact.
Maybe you have the power to hire someone with a disability. Maybe you have the power to grant an accommodation. Or maybe you have the power to disclose your own disability and empower others to speak out about theirs.
You have the power to join us in changing the world, one job at a time.
It can sometimes be confusing when a group of people start calling themselves something different and ask you to do the same. Language changes and so too does cultural norms and the labels applied to people. Over time, we have seen people with disabilities (as well as other minorities) change what they prefer to be called.
Once we used the word “handicapped.” Now many prefer to use the words “person with a disability” so as to put the person before their disability.
Once we referred to people as having “shell shock.” This has moved towards “post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” perhaps to be more inclusive people who share the condition who are not survivors of war.
Once we referred to people as “retarded.” Now, most will prefer the words “intellectual disabilities,” perhaps due to how many have used “retarded” in a casual derogatory sense.
These changes can be confusing
As an outsider, this can seem overwhelming and confusing. You will probably say the wrong thing and you might even be corrected. I certainly have!
This experience of being corrected can be embarrassing, especially if it happens publicly. But it’s important to realize why you’re being corrected–and why this is more important than your pride.
Often, labels are applied to a group of outsiders and people in the minority, including those with disabilities. Often, these people did not choose what to be called–the labels might be chosen by medical professionals, government, cultural influencers, or society at large. Historically, some labels might have been used to denigrate people or remind them of their “lesser than” status in society.
And so people choose to change these labels.
Giving people the power to identify themselves shifts the power from us to them. This shift is important: this empowers them to transform a label into an identity.
Labels will keep changing
Recently, we’ve been seeing a growing popularity around the word “neurodiversity.” This term aims to be more inclusive of people whether they have autism, ADHD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. Some people prefer to use the term “neurodiversity” while others prefer to be specific about the condition they experience.
And these labels will keep changing. For example:
Currently, it is culturally acceptable to casually use the word “crazy” in order to describe any number of wild and unpredictable things. We call ourselves “crazy;” we call each other “crazy;” everything is just “crazy.” People who experience psychological disorders would be right to take offense to this. So it’s important to be receptive when the time comes to retire this word. And we need to be especially mindful of applying this label in a way that’s hurtful towards people who are different.
Bottom line: be respectful, be empathetic, and seek to call people what they want to be called.
The other day, I was having a conversation and a person. The conversation turned to our mission and they said “I don’t see your disability–it can’t be that bad.” To which, I wanted to reply “Well, that’s great but I have to live with it.”
Some people without disabilities struggle to recognize the significance and impact of invisible and hidden disabilities. After all, if we can’t see it, can it really be all that bad?
Invisible disabilities are very real
The first thing to realize is that invisible disabilities are very, very real and they do impact people’s lives. Furthermore, each person will be impacted differently. To further complicate things: each individual person will be affected differently at different times!
Sometimes the impact of invisible disabilities will be tangible. For my own part, I cannot hear you in a crowded restaurant without assistance. Also, I can show you my audiogram that looks like a downward ski slope.
However, if you were, for example, autoimmune compromised the impact might be less tangible. Perhaps you are sick more often than most people and your illnesses lasts longer. Perhaps the indirect impact of this disability leads you to be less likely to go out in public and constantly anxious about your health.
Or if you had ADHD, the impact might affect how you are able to work and communicate with other people. It might affect your attention span. People with ADHD sometimes struggle in school or work environments due to their shifting attention or hyper fixation.
Or if you have PTSD, the impact might be fear, sense of dread, or generalized anxiety. It might affect your sleep and how comfortable you feel in social situations or in public.
Each of these conditions is complicated and diverse, as are the people who carry them. For your part, listen to people’s experiences and feelings. Don’t rush to judgements and acknowledge their feelings and condition as real and impactful.
The second thing that you can do is change the way that you talk about other people. Don’t make assumptions, don’t make fun of people, and don’t make little of any other person’s experience. (Especially don’t engage in any of these activities around other people.)
You never know who around you has an invisible disability so don’t diminish any person or any condition. You may be speaking to someone who has that condition or one similar to it! Like chameleons, people with invisible disabilities are often camouflaged and hiding around you.
Furthermore, having an invisible disability is often a minimizing and socially isolating experience. Many are afraid to talk about it, even to their close friends and family members.
Don’t make their life any harder. Remember to be nice 🙂
It’s natural to have questions. Having a disability means that you adapt to the world and this makes your experiences different and interesting! Any one of these questions are not inherently problematic, and many people with disabilities will gladly tell you about their lived experience. However, what can be problematic is the WAY we ask these questions.
Advice for Asking Better Questions
1 – Consider the Intention of your Questions
If you’re asking a question with the intention of confirming your biases or to validate your judgement of a person, your question is not going to be received well. On the other side of the coin, while we may want to help, they might not need your help–don’t ask questions with the intention of “rescuing” them.
2 – Set Your Tone Carefully
Asking someone “what’s wrong with you?” is not a great tone to set. Be polite.
3 – Consider Your Timing
Would you walk up to a stranger and immediately ask them personal questions? Or would you ask a co-worker personal questions in a public space or in front of others? Carefully consider when you ask someone these kinds of questions and in what environment.
4 – Ask Permission
Disability can be a guarded topic that we may not want to talk about, or a person with a disability may get asked about their condition so often they’re sick of talking about it! It’s important to realize that someone may not want to talk about their disability with you–so give them space to opt out. To start a conversation, I recommend starting with “Do you mind if I ask you about XXXX?”
On July 26, 1990, George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. This laid the legislation groundwork for protecting the rights of people with disabilities and making the world more accessible. That’s why this July we’re celebrating “Disability Pride Month.”
Significance of Disability Pride Month
Here’s why you may want to care about Disability Pride Month:
The idea that you can be proud of yourself AND have a disability is still a novel idea.
Disability rights legislation is relatively new and has already had a dramatic impact on millions of people’s lives.
It’s about time that people with disabilities had their time to celebrate!
Holidays only develop significance through the meaning we collectively attach to them. These range from somber (MLK day and Memorial Day), to goofy (Halloween and Valentine’s Day), to historic (4th of July and Juneteenth), to religious (Easter and Hanukkah).
Eventually, these holidays develop a life of their own. Who would have thought that Valentine’s Day would turn into an excuse to exchange chocolates and send love-themed cards? Who knew that 4th of July would become inextricably linked to hotdogs and potato salad? Meanwhile some holidays lose their significance—who really “celebrates” Columbus Day any more?
Disability Pride Month doesn’t often have parades or exchanged presents or fireworks. We don’t even get a day off to celebrate it.
But it can have significance. Happy Disability Pride Month, y’all!
About the Disability Pride Month Flag
“The black background represents the suffering of the disability community from violence and also serves as a color of rebellion and protest…the five colors represent the variety of needs and experiences: Mental Illness, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Invisible and Undiagnosed Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, and Sensory Disabilities.” –Dr. Charlie Roads
Evolution of this flag: originally the had a large lightning pattern running through it to symbolize “how individuals with disabilities must navigate barriers, and demonstrates their creativity in doing so.” More modern versions of the flag, such as the one pictured in this article, do away with the lightning pattern because the design can cause epileptic episodes.
Celebrations in 2022
While still relatively uncommon, you can find celebrations in several major cities:
Sheltered Workshops vs Competitive, Integrated Employment
When you hear hear “employment for people with disabilities,” what do visualize? The first picture that enters many people’s head is a sheltered workshop. In sheltered workshops, groups of individuals with disabilities work side-by-side. Often these people with disabilities have similar disabilities to each other. Sheltered workshops help many people but are not competitive, integrated employment situations.
Sheltered workshops are often run by nonprofits to employ people with disabilities.
Employment in sheltered workshops is often based on their disability.
Their work is often light assembly.
Pay to people with disabilities in sheltered workshops is usually very low, sometimes even below minimum wage.
People who participate in sheltered workshops can often only earn up to a certain amount before they become ineligible for state assistance.
My great aunt participated in a program like this. Due to the extent of her intellectual disability, this was a good environment for her to do something during the day. Also, it gave time back to my grandparents, who were her full time caregivers. For this reason, I would argue that these programs do have an inherent value in our society and are appropriate for some people with disabilities.
Competitive, Integrated Employment Matters
When sheltered workshops are the only thing society envisions when they picture “work for people with disabilities,” we are discounting the abilities of many people.
Every person with a disability also has a unique range of abilities. We cannot make assumptions about a person’s ability because many people with disabilities are capable of competitive and integrated employment in the regular workforce.
Competitive and integrated employment means:
Competitive: Their employment is primarily contingent on their ability to perform the work. Integrated: They are working side-by-side with people who do not have disabilities.
Some of our employees will work for Peak for multiple assignments.
Many of our employees will go onto get hired by the client or find other competitive jobs.
Sometimes a client will know an employee of ours has a disability (since it is visible) and sometimes they won’t (if it’s an invisible disability).
People with disabilities are a large group of people with varying abilities and also varying limitations–just like people without disabilities! If you are ready to hire people with disabilities, first look at the person and then at the disability. If you utilize this mindset, you’ll be surprised by what they’re capable of.
If you’re not sure how start but are interested in employing people with disabilities, we can help!
The Crestview Neighborhood Association recently featured Peak Performers in their monthly newsletter. The text from the article can be found below.
Media contact: email@example.com – (512) 453-8833 X 116
People with Disabilities Face Hiring Challenges
People with disabilities face an unemployment rate that is double that of the national average. In times of high unemployment, they’re often the first to be let go and the last to be re-hired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a quarter of all adults in the US have a disability. These might be observable and obvious–such as paraplegia or blindness–or they might have non-observable disabilities, such as ADHD, PTSD, diabetes, or epilepsy. Additionally, many conditions come as a result of age or injury. It’s likely that many people reading this article have a disability or will acquire one over the years. Helping advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities is paramount for creating a more inclusive society and helps protect all of our jobs.
Local Nonprofit with a Vision: Professional Opportunities for those with Disabilities
Peak Performers, an Austin based nonprofit, was founded in 1994, several years following the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At the time, the majority of jobs that were available for people with disabilities were sheltered workshop environments where those individuals would perform light industrial, janitorial, and assembly activities. These workers were often paid sub-minimum wages and might have required regular supervision from a job coach. Peak Performers wanted to offer something different: professional opportunities for skilled people with disabilities. “I was inspired by my foster brother. He was blind but went on to become a very successful accountant,” recalls Charlie Graham, founder and former CEO of Peak Performers. “Being blind did not stop him from becoming a Chief Financial Officer.” “Our vision is two-fold,” adds Bree Sarlati, current CEO. “To change what it means to be a job seeker with a disability, and to challenge the preconceptions that make employers reluctant to hire someone with a disability.”
Growth and Transformation
Unlike many other nonprofits, Peak is completely revenue-funded and does not apply for grants or solicit donations. Unlike other staffing firms, over 75% of their workforce has a qualifying disability. Peak started off like most staffing companies do: supplying low-wage mailroom and clerical roles. Over the years, their customers began trusting Peak and requesting increasingly hard-to-fill roles: auditors, contract professionals, program specialists, and purchasers. In 2014, Peak began filling information technology roles to fill the demand of existing customers. Then in 2020, while most recruiting agencies were shrinking, Peak saw it’s temporary headcount swell to nearly double as the Texas government turned to its now longtime staffing partner for one of its largest challenges yet: the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Peak has over 100 attorneys working for the Texas Workforce Commission.
Unique Business Sense
There are many advantages to hiring people with disabilities: reduced turnover, advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives, and the availability of an underutilized talent pool, especially during a time when employers need talent. People looking for jobs and employers with staffing needs can find out more at peakperformers.org.
There’s a lot of fear and misunderstanding about hiring people with disabilities. In the article, SHRM uncovers that significant biases still exist, with 32% of managers saying they would be uncomfortable hiring someone with a mental-health disability, and 42% of HR professionals believing work can’t be done by someone with a learning or attention disability. Perhaps most striking is a lack of disability training and corporate recruitment initiatives for people with disabilities that are in place.
We’ve hired a lot of people with disabilities over the last 25 years. Over 80% of our current staff have a qualifying disability (and many of those are non-observable disabilities). Below, we share our insights into successfully hiring and retaining individuals with disabilities:
People with Disabilities are Everywhere
Disability crosses all races, cultures, sexes, and identities. It affects people of all walks of life. Disability takes many forms. These include physical, mental, and emotional conditions. Conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, PTSD, depression, diabetes, and epilepsy are examples of disabilities that are not usually observable but have an impact on life and work. They are also a qualifying conditions under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, chronic medical conditions (such as having or previously having had cancer) and perceived disabilities (such as dwarfism or physical disfigurements) also qualify. It is estimated that under these definitions, 20% of the US workforce has a disability. You may already be working with someone who has a disability, or you may have a qualifying condition yourself.
People with Disabilities are Still People
People with disabilities are all around us. Often, they want to be treated the same as any other employee. The majority of employees with disabilities do not seek special considerations; they want to be evaluated based on the merits of their work. Many people with disabilities are fully independent adults who strive to have happy, productive working lives. Having a disability will often have little or no bearing on their ability to do a job.
Accommodations Often Aren’t That Bad
The current laws call for “reasonable accommodations” and seek to develop a dialogue between the employee and employer. Accommodations are often not as costly or difficult as an employer might perceive. Also do not require you to fundamentally treat an employee with a disability differently than others. In our experience, most of our employees with disabilities don’t even require an accommodation in order to get their work done.
When they are requested, many accommodations are slight alterations to the work space to ensure that employees will be comfortable, productive, and healthy.
Photosensitivity epilepsy, we often accommodate them by permitting them to wear sunglasses indoors or provide them with a light filter for their computer screen. For an employee with scoliosis, we provide them with a standing desk. The most common situation we encounter is when an employee needs to take time off or modify their work schedule in order to attend doctor appointments. (Individuals without disabilities also go to the doctor!) When an accommodation request does not seem reasonable or compatible with the essential functions of the job, you may want to consult with a seasoned HR professional or legal team for guidance. We also have links to more resources below.
We also encourage employers to consider the possibility that making your workplace more accessible (particularly for those with mobility-related disabilities) may prove to be an investment that enhances the way your entire workforce uses the space. Similarly, making your digital workspace more accessible and comfortable to use, may help many of your existing employees be more productive in their current role.
They Know What They Need
HR managers usually don’t need to figure out how to accommodate an individual—the employee has often encountered this situation before and has an idea of a possible solution. After all, they’ve been living with their condition! They understand their physical conditions and limitations better than anyone else, and they are more likely to seek out jobs where they feel they can be successful. A person who is deaf is less likely to seek out a position that requires a heavy use of phones. A person with multiple sclerosis is probably not targeting construction jobs. As an employer, the best thing you can do is be available to have a conversation and seriously consider the accommodations they suggest. Additionally, consider that at this time they may not be needing an accommodation, but they may need to explore accommodations later if their condition worsens.
What About Current Employees?
Unfortunately, injuries and illnesses happen over time—it’s part of being human. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of people with a disability rises dramatically for those past the age of 64.
Disability inclusion in the workplace presents an enormous opportunity to do what’s right, to take care of your own, and improve organizational morale by alleviating fear of displacement through injury or aging. When a current employee approaches you to discuss disability, turn to a trusted HR resource or even the Americans with Disabilities Act itself to understand how to proceed. In general, seek to engage the employee in a conversation and have them recommend an accommodation if one is necessary. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
· Their first choice is probably to stay in their current role. Approach the situation with the intention of making this possible. Discuss their limitations and what they would have trouble doing, or what is currently causing them discomfort in their role. Can this be accomplished by a minor alteration to the work environment or schedule? This may also be accomplished through minor “role restructuring” where you delegate non-essential tasks to other employees (such as lifting boxes in an office environment).
· Consider lateral moves. In the instance of someone not being able to perform the essential functions of the job, opportunities for continued employment may exist in other departments and/or under different job titles. If a lateral position is not open or the individual is unqualified to perform that work, then you may also offer another position for which they are qualified but pays less than their current role—but this should be your last resort.
· Do not discuss with others. Co-workers may notice and ask about it. It’s imperative that you do not discuss disability or medical information that was shared in confidentiality. Many workers with disabilities do not want to be regarded differently in the workplace. However, it’s also important to stress that you are not offering preferential treatment to that employee. The Job Seekers Accommodation Network recommends saying, when asked, “[your organization] has a policy of assisting any employee who encounters difficulties in the workplace, and that many of the workplace issues encountered by employees are personal, and that, in these circumstances, it is the employer’s policy to respect employee privacy.”
What Do I Do Now?
So what can your organization do to be ready?
1) Look at your work. Review your jobs and the type of work that is performed. What kinds of physical requirements might affect someone’s ability to succeed in the role? For example, does it require lifting or strenuous movement? Does it require speaking verbally or seeing?
2) Look at your workforce. Have a conversation with your team about what a disability is and the value of a diverse and inclusive workplace. Talk about the kinds of disabilities that are both observable and non-observable. Your team knows their work environment and may offer ideas on how the work or space might be presenting a challenge for individuals with disabilities.
3) Have policies. Many problems arise because of inexperienced managers or HR teams who have to handle a complicated situation without having any policies or training to guide them. Have policies written down and train your on-site managers ahead of time. Have conversations about how to appropriately and compassionately respond to these situations. Highlight the importance of keeping the door open to a dialogue between employees and management.
4) Consider adaptation plans. Would your workforce benefit by having grab bars in the bathroom? Are your computer applications able to interface with JAWS or other screen reading software? Do you have flexible scheduling options for employees who need to frequently go to the doctor or take time off to recover from a flare up?
Disability is everywhere and often requires little-to-no accommodation to the workplace. Furthermore, people with disabilities know themselves best and will often seek out roles that they can be successful in–much like any other jobseeker! There are many benefits to the organization for having a more inclusive workplace, including making some of your current employees more comfortable. Keep these ideas in mind when taking proactive next steps to hire and retain individuals with disabilities.
We encourage you to learn more about what disabilities are and explore examples of qualifying conditions.
Passed by Congress in 1990, and eventually signed by President George H.W. Bush, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, transportation, telecommunications, and many other spheres of civil society.
The legislation provided many of the civil liberties and protections of the Civil Rights Act to people with chronic medical conditions. Prior to the ADA, job seekers with noticeable disabilities were very often dismissed for certain positions due to the erroneous perception that they could not perform the tasks at hand. It would be naive to say that workplace discrimination no longer exists, but it would also be remiss to discount the significance of the ADA.
Of all the obscure national days to celebrate, this is certainly one not to miss. And in honor of the landmark legislation, we created this infographic to highlight the impact it’s had on all of us.