Employment Practices for People with Disabilities

Disability Friendly Strategies for the Workplace

Employers who include disability issues in corporate diversity policies enrich and enhance workplace benefits in the new economy. Such benefits include diverse leadership, innovation, increase in overall morale and the ability to cast a wider recruiting net. Outlined below are strategies to successfully incorporate persons with disabilities into the workplace.

Make a corporate commitment to include persons with disabilities among your stakeholders
Is the CEO committed to a disability friendly workplace? Is there a written document to all staff that affirms this commitment? Do corporate policies, procedures and practices specifically mention disability? Do persons with disabilities serve on the board? Are employees and customers with disabilities seen in the annual report? Are workers with disabilities employed at all skill levels in the workforce, including senior management positions? Are your products or services marketed to customers with disabilities? CEO commitment means senior leadership will embrace disability policies and that the organization will “talk the talk and walk the walk.”

Educate all staff on disability
Does new staff orientation include disability awareness training? Are training materials available in alternate formats such as large print, Braille, and captioning? Do employees with disabilities serve as mentors for new hires who do not have disabilities? Providing disability education dispels myths and enables all staff to make sound disability employment decisions.
Provide ongoing information on disability
Are staff familiar with legislation pertaining to disability? Does staff receive disability information that could be helpful at work, at home or at school? Is disability information provided routinely in the company newsletter or on an intranet site? Are disability resources in the community contacted to help injured workers return to the workplace as soon as possible? Continued education enables employees to utilize pertinent disability information to resolve everyday family and worklife situations.

Form a disability support group
Do employees with disabilities meet to discuss disability employment issues? Does this group have authority to make recommendations to management? Is all staff aware of this group and the contributions it makes to corporate success? Disability perspectives enable all employees to contribute their full work potential to corporate success.

Provide accessible facilities and services
Are buildings, parking areas, work spaces, and communication systems accessible to persons with disabilities? Accessible facilities and services are more useful for everybody.

Accommodate applicants and workers with disabilities
Is there a central source and budget for accommodations? Are applicants and employees informed that accommodations are available if needed? With permission, are employee success stories that demonstrate improved productivity based on accommodation shared with other employees? Does staff routinely stay abreast of new developments in universal and assistive technology? An open policy on accommodations allows candidates and workers with disabilities to demonstrate what they can do.
Project a disability friendly image to attract candidates and customers with disabilities
Do college recruiters target students with disabilities when making campus calls? Do recruiters search for resumes on disability-related Web sites? Are publications directed to persons with disabilities targeted for company advertising? Are recruiters and other personnel responsible for establishing working relationships with community agencies serving applicants with disabilities? Building relationships with community agencies increases referrals of candidates with disabilities.

Hire applicants with disabilities
Do recruiters regularly attend employment fairs for candidates with disabilities or target students at colleges with known populations of students with disabilities such as Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf? Are employees offered incentive bonuses for referring applicants with disabilities? A diverse workforce includes employees with disabilities.

Train and advance workers with disabilities
Do employees with disabilities routinely participate in employer-sponsored training opportunities? If not, has this issue been brought before the Disability Support Group for recommendations? Are procedures in place to promote qualified employees with disabilities to management and supervisory positions? Employers who “talk the talk and walk the walk” of disability employment promote qualified workers to upper management positions.
Encourage staff to volunteer in the community
Is staff encouraged to build relationships with disability community service organizations during work hours? Does staff make regular visits to high schools to inform administrators, teachers and students (including students with disabilities) about scheduled open houses and job trends in your industry? Are human resource staff instructing students with disabilities about how to set up a scannable resume or serving as mentors to graduating post-secondary students with disabilities to help them with their job search? Employers who want to make a difference in the disability employment arena are eager to influence tomorrow’s disabled workers and help job candidates with disabilities with their search.
This information was prepared in cooperation with the Business Leadership Network (BLN), an employer-led endeavor of the Office of Disability Employment Policy supported by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. This program promotes best disability employment practices to enhance employment opportunities for job candidates who happen to have disabilities. For more information about the BLN and other programs of the Office of Disability Employment Policy check out our Web site < www.pcepd.gov > or call 202-376-6200.

Hiring Practices

Hiring People with Disabilities – Common Questions

Listed below are commonly asked questions regarding hiring people with disabilities and resources to obtain answers.

Question: Where can I get information at the national level regarding employment issues and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Where can I obtain written information about the ADA and my obligation as an employer? Where can I get ADA technical assistance at the national level?


The Office of Disability Employment Policy:

(202)376-6200 (V)
(202)376-6205 (TTY)

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
For Technical Assistance: (800)669-4000 (V) or (800)669-6820 (TTY)
To Obtain Documents: (800)669-3362 (V) or (800)800-3302 (TTY), http://www.eeoc.gov

Question: I just hired an employee who uses a wheelchair. What accommodation(s) will be needed? My new employee informed me that she has a learning disability. Where can I go to get more information?

What if I need information regarding accommodations for persons with psychiatric disabilities? Who can I call? What kind of equipment or technology is available to enable my employees with disabilities to complete their job tasks? How much will a workplace accommodation cost and will I be able to save money to implement the modification? Who can assist me with writing a job description and identifying the essential job requirements?


The Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN):
(800)526-7234 (V/TTY)

Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs):
(800)949-4232 (V/TTY)

Question: I want my employment application and other employment materials available in alternate formats for my job applicants and employees with visual disabilities. Who can I call? Our human resources staff would like to have their business cards Brailled. How can we get them done?


National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped:
(800)424-8567 ask for reference(V)

Question: Am I legally required to comply with the employment provisions of ADA? If so, what are my responsibilities? What are the regulations under Title I of the ADA that apply to me as a small business employer? How do I know whether my employment practices are nondiscriminatory? Who is a “qualified individual with a disability”? What is an undue hardship ? How does the ADA affect my employees health benefit plans and the company s workers compensation program? Does the ADA impact medical examinations that I require of all employees? If so, how?


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
For Technical Assistance: (800)669-4000 (V) or (800)669-6820 (TTY)
To Obtain Documents:
(800)669-3362 (V) or (800)800-3302

Disability Rights Education Defense Fund (DREDF) ADA Hotline: ADA questions and publications:
(800)466-4232 (V/TTY)

Question: I need help with structural modifications to make my business accessible to employees and customers with disabilities. Where can I get help with architectural questions?


Architectural & Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board):
Documents and questions (800)872-2253 (V)
(800)993-2622 (TTY)
(202)272-5448 (Electronic Bulletin Board)

Question: I am holding a business function for my employees. Where can I find qualified sign language interpreters for employees who are deaf?


Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf:
(301)608-0050 (V/TTY), (301)608-0508 (FAX)

Question: What kind of tax incentives are there if I make reasonable accommodations in my company? Are there any resources that provide financial assistance when I hire a person with a disability?


Internal Revenue Service: (800)829-1040

U.S. Department of Labor: (202)219-6871

Question: How can I find out about local agencies that can help me with issues regarding hiring a person with a disability? Who in my state can assist me in implementing a workplace accommodation? Where can I recruit qualified individuals with disabilities?


National Council for Independent Living:
(703)525-3406, ncil@tsbbs02.tnet.com

Department of Veterans Affairs: (202)273-7419 (Check your local telephone directory for the regional or local office.)

Office of Disability Employment Policy:
202-376-6205 (TTY)

Rehabilitation Services Administration:
(202)205-8719 (Check your local telephone directory for state or local office.)

Project with Industry: (202)543-6353 or inabir@poltech.com

Question: Where can I learn more about specific disability groups?

Are there other businesses in my area with which I can network concerning disability issues?

How can I find out about conferences and workshops in my state?


To find out how to contact State Governors or Mayors Committees on the Employment of People with Disabilities, contact the Office of Disability Employment Policy at
(202)376-6200 (V)
(202)376-6205 (TTY)
or check your local telephone directory

Regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs): (800)949-4232

Office of Disability Employment Policy Business Leadership Network (BLN): (202)376-6200 (V), (202)376-6205, infoODEP@dol.gov