ADA Compliance and Accommodations
Workplace Accommodation Consulting Services
For 75 years Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center has been serving people who are deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing. Currently serving 13 counties in Western Washington, this highly respected nonprofit provides a variety of services to individuals, businesses, government, health care, education, and the arts. Those services include conducting Workplace Accommodation Assessments for entities employing people with hearing loss.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires any employer with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.
The Benefits of Employing People with Disabilities
Earnworks, which is created in conjunction with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), has outlined six reasons for hiring people with disabilities.
- Social Responsibility
Hiring employees with disabilities is the business of compassion and inclusion. Individuals who have disabilities enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and a sense of being an integral part of our society. By hiring employees with disabilities, you are supporting the greater good in our society and setting an example for others to follow.
Workforce psychology and organizational management basics emphasize the importance of diversity in any work environment. Diversity comes in many forms, from the proportion of male to female workers, different ethnic backgrounds, and of course, people with disabilities. A diverse work environment has been proven to be healthier and draws talents and innovation from a wide variety of perspectives, circumstances, and backgrounds.
- Return on Investment
When you hire people with disabilities, you are transforming a social issue into a business opportunity. The opportunity comes in the form of lower costs and higher revenues and profits. It effectively opens your business up to new markets and can improve productivity through creativity, innovation, and more effective ways of completing tasks and conducting business operations. In many cases, when you hire people with disabilities you will incur less training costs, and statistics show that you will increase retention of these employees. There are also tax benefits for employing individuals who are disabled.
- Human Capital
The HR professional is primarily concerned with the quality of the human capital in an organization. Including employees with disabilities expands your talent pool. Past perceptions have been that this decreased productivity, but those who currently employ individuals with disabilities have indicated quite the contrary. In fact, many employees with disabilities strive to gain mastery of their tasks and have a burning desire to show that they can contribute just as much or greater to the organization and the team. When you have employees who are engaged and less likely to leave your organization, you have an ideal employee.
Employees with disabilities bring a variety of backgrounds, experience, and expertise to the workplace. This contributes to new and innovative problem-solving skills, as well as new ways to work collaboratively, efficiently, and in a cooperative manner. For example, Cisco Systems made a decision to hire employees with disabilities and reaped many benefits from doing so. John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO, stated that it was “instrumental in spurring on new forms of creativity and productivity in the work environment.” It also allowed them to gain a better perspective on how diverse individuals interact with technology, which lead to enhancements in their product line.
There are 54 million Americans with disabilities according to Market Research, which makes this market one of the largest segments in the country, second only to Baby Boomers. When you employ individuals with disabilities, you create a business atmosphere of inclusion for other employees and from a business marketing perspective, that atmosphere of inclusion will draw in more customers who also have disabilities as they will feel more welcome in your place of business. It does not take long for word to get out among the community that a small business or corporation supports workers with disabilities. As people are driven by consumer choices increasingly based on social responsibility, this becomes a significant factor in whether they decide to conduct business with you.