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2 Effective Ways To Create an Inclusive & Accessible Workplace

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and employers have had to follow its compliance rules ever since. The ADA aims to protect individuals with disabilities in the workplace by prohibiting employment discrimination. This means creating a certain standard for employers to uphold that accommodates qualified individuals of various disabilities by creating an accessible workplace. Below is a quick guide on two areas that can be easily improved for creating an accessible workplace.

Hiring

Accessibility needs to start before you even hire an employee. This can simply start with the facilities. When an employee shows up to an interview are the following present:

  • Disability parking
  • Access ramps with appropriate handrails
  • Wheelchair accessible doors
  • Accessibility features in bathrooms and water fountains

When reviewing the physical accessibility in the workplace, employers can refer to the Department of Labor’s checklist available online.

The recruiting process itself should also include outreach efforts to reach candidates with disabilities. The federally run Workforce Recruitment Program is a referral program that connects employers with college students and recent graduates with disabilities for open job positions. Additionally, the Department of Labor (DOL) offers a comprehensive list of other recruiting tools employers can use to reach potential candidates with disabilities. They are places to share information about the open positions much like any other job listing site or tool.

Similarly, many employers have also turned to make their online tools more accessible. This means adding features such as the following:

  • Alternative text for images (descriptions that let those that can’t see them what they are)
  • Subtitles for any videos
  • Sites and apps designed to have the option to navigate with the keyboard alone
  • Giving links unique and descriptive names

Now when it comes to the interview process the ADA clearly prohibits employers from asking specific questions relating to their disability. However, when a disability is obvious or a candidate brings it up on their own, employers are then allowed to ask what accommodations they would need in the workplace.

Workplace Accommodations

Employers are required by the ADA to make facilities accessible to new and current employees with disabilities (The only exception occurs when the accommodation is proven to cause undue hardship for the employer). These accommodations vary by employee and disability. However, they often include things like: Accesible Workplace

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Telecommuting
  • Restructured workstation
  • Larger work screens
  • Voice recognition software and more.

Some states even offer qualified employers financial assistance for upgrading physical equipment to help accommodate employees with disabilities. In addition to that, employers may also be eligible for various federal tax incentives. This includes:

Moreover, it is key that HR and other leaders understand the needs of their employees. Similarly, leaders should educate all of their employees about working with others that have a disability. A company culture that is accommodating is as equally important as the physical accommodations.

Curious about HR Management and Employee Self Service tools? Payroll Systems can Help! We can help your organization ensure new employees are ready before day one, drastically reduce the amount of paperwork, and streamline lengthy processes. Contact us for more information.

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This article provides general information and shouldn’t be construed as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws may change over time and can vary by location and industry, please consult a lawyer or HR expert for advice specific to your business. You can also contact Payroll Systems to inquire about our HR support services.