Employment

Employing People with Disabilities – Myths, Realities and Job Accommodations

 

There are many powerful myths that exist about people with disabilities in the workplace. Perhaps you have heard some of them at your place of work? You may have even thought of them yourself. There are a number of beliefs about people with disabilities in our culture, where they should and should not be and what they can and cannot do. Many of these beliefs are false, or at least cannot be said to broadly apply to people with disabilities.

 

Here are some realities employers have found in hiring people with disabilities:

 

Reality: On the whole people with disabilities in the workplace prove to be highly reliable and conscientious employees. People with disabilities bring unique skills and perspectives to the work environment.

Reality: Many employers have found that people with disabilities in their companies have found positions that were a good skills match, some of which were challenging positions to fill and have excelled.

Reality: Workplaces benefit from the diversity of experience that people with disabilities bring. Some employers have mentioned that people with disabilities in their organizations have ended up being some of the most well liked employees in their workforce and a boost to overall staff morale.

Reality: A diverse workforce is reflective of the world we live in. Companies that include people with disabilities increase their competitive advantage.

Reality: With a generation of workers beginning to retire, people with disabilities represent a large talent pool that is largely untapped. People with disabilities have abilities, skills and talents that can benefit businesses and people with disabilities have made it known that they are willing and able to work.

Reality: There is little to no extra expenses for employers hiring people with disabilities. Not all people with disabilities will require an accommodation and most accommodations provided by employers are low cost.

 

MORE ABOUT ACCOMODATIONS

 

Sometimes employers become nervous when hearing the term accommodations, envisioning them to be costly and hard to provide; a burden on their business. However, a person with a disability may not require an accommodation at all and research shows that often accommodations are low-cost and simple such as rearranging a workspace or allowing some flexibility in work hours.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act a reasonable accommodation is defined as any change or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things usually are done that would allow an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job functions, or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the workplace.

The reality is that there are a wealth of qualified candidates that can help meet the needs of your business. Some of these qualified candidates may have a disability and a simple accommodation may be all that is needed in order to support this person in contributing to your company.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Job Accommodation Network

www.askjan.org

A free consulting service designed to increase the employability of people with disabilities by:

  • Providing individualized worksite accommodation solutions
  • Providing technical assistance regarding the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and

other disability-related legislation

  • Educating callers about self-employment options.

 

Disability Information

www.disability.gov

This user-friendly website contains links to information of interest to people with disabilities,

their families, employers, service providers and other community members.