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Accommodating the needs of disabled employees

As an employer, you will know that it is illegal for you to discriminate against disabled employees. This is true for both the hiring and selection process, but also for accommodating the needs of disabled employees once they are employed. The way that you accommodate these needs will depend largely on the nature of the disability that a person has. However, in order to avoid costly lawsuits, it is important that you know in detail the duties that you have as an employer.

There are protections in place for all employees that are classified as disabled in one way or another. This could be a physical disability or a mental disability. Although discrimination is prohibited, the employee in question must have abilities that makes him or her qualified to do the job required.

What counts as reasonable accommodation?

You have the duty to make minor adjustments to the working environment so that your disabled employees can be comfortable and successful. This might mean equipment such as technology that can aid them, or chairs and desks that can make them more comfortable. It could mean installing wheelchair ramps or restructuring work schedules.

Can I ask about an employee's medical condition?

It is unlawful for an employer to ask about the nature of a person's disability during the hiring process. This is because hiring should always be made based on a person's merits.

Becoming knowledgable about your duties as an employer is vital in preventing liability and employee lawsuits. Make sure that you conduct careful research and make sure that you are accommodating disabled employees as you should.

Source: EEOC, "The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability," accessed Jan. 04, 2018

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