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Accommodating employees with disabilities

There are several laws that protect disabled employees in the workplace. From the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to the Disabled Persons Act, these laws exist so that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as those without disabilities.

One such act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, specifies that employers must provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations. But what are reasonable accommodations, and how can you make sure they’re enacted in your workplace?

Defining reasonable accommodations

By law, disabled workers have the right to modifications in the workplace and to the tasks they are required to perform. These adjustments make it possible for a person with a disability to have equal opportunities both in the hiring process and in other conditions of employment such as job tasks and daily work duties.

Reasonable accommodations do not give disabled workers the “upper hand” or any other form of special treatment. Rather, they allow all employees to successfully navigate their work environment. When this happens, your business can operate and function smoothly and effectively.

Providing reasonable accommodations

Ensure that you provide reasonable accommodations to your disabled employees by doing the following where necessary:

  • Install ramps and elevators
  • Provide accessible bathroom stalls
  • Allow service animals in the building
  • Provide sign language interpretation or closed captions during meetings
  • Adjust work schedules to accommodate those with regular medical appointments
  • Have an easy-to-navigate floor plan
  • Remind employees of handicap parking rules
  • Make reading materials available in Braille or large print
  • Modify equipment structure or software

These are just a few ways to make your workplace more accessible for disabled employees. Make sure you know what your disabled workers require so that you can meet their needs.

Understanding how to accommodate disabled employees can help you avoid messy lawsuits down the road. But more than that, when you follow correct protocol, you can ensure the safety of your workers and your business for years to come.

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