Employing someone with disabilities can have a significant impact on your business. They often bring in a new and different perspective that can help the company improve the way that it does business. Additionally, for companies that are interested in federal contracting, it can help them secure work.
When you hire someone with disabilities, whether your business does federal contracting or not, it is crucial that you provide reasonable employee accommodations. Below are a few things your company should know about securing reasonable employee accommodations.
Who Qualifies for Reasonable Accommodations?
Any employee who discloses a disability to human resources (HR) or management qualifies for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All businesses are required to make these accommodations, but it is even more important for federal contractors to comply in order to reserve their standing.
If a person does not disclose that they have a disability, you cannot be expected to provide accommodations. If they file a complaint and there is no evidence that they informed HR or a superior, their case will be dismissed.
Along with the fact that it is the legal thing to do, providing reasonable accommodation is also the right thing to do for valued employees. Employers should make every effort to assist the employee unless the accommodation will result in undue hardship for the company.
What Constitutes Undue Hardship?
There are a few circumstances that constitute undue hardship for a business. If your company meets any of these, you will not be required to provide accommodations.
According to the Cornell Law School, these circumstances include, “…any accommodation that would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the contractor’s business.”
If you believe that your business would face undue hardship as a result of providing employee accommodations, you should make sure you exhaust every option available to you before denying the employee request. You may also want to consider getting an outside opinion to ensure that you are within the law.
What Are Some Examples of Employee Accommodations?
Often, employees will let you know exactly what they need to be able to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. Those who have been living with disabilities for the majority of their lives understand what will and will not work for them.
Some examples of reasonable accommodations that employees may ask for include:
- Screen readers, reader services, or audio transcriptions for people who are blind or low-vision
- American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter or communication access real-time translation (CART) tools for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing
- Wheelchair ramps, accessible conference rooms, or automatic tools for people with physical disabilities
You may also need to slightly alter job descriptions or offer flexible schedules to allow people on your team to thrive.
How Can I Get Help to Ensure my Employee Accommodations Meet Standards?
To ensure that you are meeting standards, you first need to discuss everything with your employee and document those conversations. You also need to do research on a way to help your employees that works well for both parties.
If you are not sure where to start, Applied Development can help. As an expert in the field and a government contractor, ourselves, we have the necessary experience to assist your company in the best way to implement employee accommodations. Give us a call today at 410.571.4016 or contact us online for more information!