Resources for Hiring Employees with Disabilities
~ Authored by Shelly Tisius
The latest numbers reported are that 8 out of 10 people have some sort of disability and/or require accommodations. If you are reluctant to hire someone with a disability, now might be the time to brush up on accommodations so you can be prepared. Did you know that when someone applies for a job they do not have to disclose their disability? They also have a legal right to request an accommodation. An interviewee may have a disability though you do not know it until they arrive. For several reasons it is good to be generally prepared so you are not caught off guard.
Some accommodations suggested by EARN (Employee Assistance and Resource Network):
- Sign language interpreters
- Ways to make the meeting more accessible for mobility impairments
- Relay operator to call (though email may be preferred for direct communication)
- Information in an electronic format (i.e. applications) prior to the interview
- A counselor or representative throughout the hiring process
- Technology device
There are many resources for hiring employees with disabilities that it can be overwhelming. The Department of Labor offers options. Depending on your business or organization, you may want to determine which resources best fit your situation. Two of our favorites are AskJan and EARN. For example, with AskJan you can search any disability and not only get information but also common accommodations for that disability.
Starkloff, for example, has resources such as a “Guidebook on Workplace Disability Etiquette.” You can learn how to put people first simply by considering the most appropriate terminology. It also gives a brief overview of common courtesies.
Resources for hiring employees with disabilities can get you started. Remember that all people are different, regardless of disabilities. We advise asking each individual what works best for them. It may seem rude to ask, but it is worse to be a repeat offender. Ask so you can modify what you are doing immediately. Then help educate others.
EARN – www.askearn.org
Department of Labor – www.dol.gov/odep/businesssense
AskJan – www.askjan.org
Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP) – http://dapinclusive.org/
Starkloff – https://starkloff.org/
Guidebook on Workplace Disability Etiquitte – https://starkloff.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Etiquette-guide-Web-version.pdf
Next Step for Life – https://www.nextstepforlife.org/
Tax Credits – www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/tax-benefits-for-businesses-who-have-employees-with-disabilities