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Employment Quiz

  1. Call your switchboard operator and ask for the “ADA Coordinator” – did they know who that is? Do you have one?
  2. Pick a few employees and ask them if they understand their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. – everyone should.
  3. Pick a few supervisors and ask them if they know the company’s policy on reasonable accommodations.
  4. Do you include information about the ADA in your orientation (both customer service and human resources)?
  5. Do you include information about the ADA in your company newsletter, employee handbook?
  6. Do you have the correct boilerplates on your contracts with temporary employment agencies? Did you know you are responsible for their mistakes (discriminatory actions?)
  7. Do you know when worker’s compensation light duty ends and reasonable accommodation ends?
  8. If an applicant requested a sign language interpreter for an interview, what would you do?
  9. Do you have a policy on providing reasonable accommodations? Determining an undue burden defense? Providing an interactive process?
  10. Do you understand the definition of a qualified person with a disability? Really? Including the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments?
  11. Are you sure your application for employment is compliant? If you use a voice-activated telephone screening tool, is it compliant?
  12. Are you required to have an Affirmative Action Plan because you are a federal contractor? Is it a common sense, simple, effective, usable document? How many pages is it?

Employment

Why should you have a compliant policy on employment of qualified persons with disabilities? Because first it is the “right” thing to do and secondly, it is the law.

What is the difference between an employer who consistently wins awards for hiring people with disabilities – awards for the sheer numbers, awards for diversity of the types of disabilities their employee have and awards for the diversity in positions they hold – from top management to entry level and everything in-between and the employer who is the exact opposite?

I think the initial difference is the owner’s and management’s desire to “make it happen.” But to be so successful, the key is the support of mid-level management, supervisors and co-workers feeling the support from the top and being included in the process. How do you include all employees in the process? First and foremost – training. Training everyone. Second, being very visible about your support – in the community and at work. Diversity efforts include people with disabilities; every company newsletter has interesting articles about the company’s support; posters and brochures about the company policy are readily available; and all employees understand the concept of reasonable accommodation and where to go to get it. The bottom line? No one is afraid. Afraid of insurance rate hikes, afraid of increased workers’ comp, afraid of reasonable accommodation costs – and able-bodied work dissatisfaction. All of those things go away – with training.

Times are difficult right now, but typically 75% of people without disabilities who are 21 to 64 years old are employed – and we will see those numbers, again. But for people with disabilities in the same age group – the number has remained the same since statistics first started being gathered in 1982 – 23% employment. And, in case you are wondering, that translates to over $300 billion annually in public and private costs.

This is America. We can do better.

Take this short quiz – and see if you need to make some changes. We can help – and some trainings may be at absolutely no charge to your company, through our sister organization Pacific ADA Center.