October ushers in fall and the beginning of holidays and celebrations. It is fitting that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. National Disability Employment Awareness Month was established by Congress in 1988 to applaud the many contributions by individuals with disabilities in our workforce, and to educate the public on issues encountered by those with disabilities. This year’s theme is: ”America’s Workforce: Empowering All.” Visit, What Can You Do to educate and inspire your team to focus on what each person CAN DO to effect and empower the team as a whole.
We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of focusing on the “can do” by reminding employers of best practices:
- When hiring, you cannot discriminate because a person has a disability. What you can do is make reasonable accommodations for the individual so he or she can do the job without any barriers. The Americans with Disabilities Act Overview provides a good understanding of what you can do.
- Encourage team members to get to know each other. This helps put the focus on the person (and their abilities) rather than the disability. When referencing a person with a disability, you should not say “disabled person” or call the person by the name of the disability.
- Once an individual with a disability has been hired, remember to provide the same access to advancement, trainings, benefits and any other offering your company extends to all employees.
- Not all disabilities are visible or immediately apparent. Make certain all your supervisors and managers are aware of how to address requests for reasonable accommodations.
- Get your company involved! The Campaign for Disability Employment encourages organizations across industries and regardless of size to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
- For specific ideas on supporting National Disability Employment Awareness Month within your organization, visit the website, www.dol.gov/ndeam or What Can You Do.
If you have questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act or your firm’s compliance, schedule an appointment with one of our employment law attorneys.