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Disability Accommodations: A Win-Win for Employers and Employees Alike

It is important for you to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it is an important part of diversity and inclusion.

As an employer, you need to make sure that every employee feels welcome in the workplace. That means focusing on disability accommodations as well.

There are plenty of success stories regarding employees with disabilities, and there are plenty of employees with disabilities who can put your practice in a position to be successful. What do you need to know about the ADA, and how can you create an inclusive workplace for individuals with disabilities? Learn more about disability rights below, and make sure you provide equal opportunities for all employees.

Employer’s Role in Disability Accommodations

In accordance with the ADA, an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified applicant or employee who has a disability. The only way an employer can get out of this requirement is by showing that providing that accommodation would be an undue hardship. That means that it would put the business in a financially untenable position or that the employee has no way of fulfilling his or her job duties because of that specific disability.

Even though this can be a bit subjective, there are several best practices that employers should follow to ensure that employees with disabilities still feel welcome in the workplace.

Some of the most important best practices to follow include:

  • Employers should show that they are willing to provide modifying equipment and devices that can help employees with disabilities be more productive.
  • Employers should be open to providing a modified work schedule that makes it easier for employees with disabilities to remain productive.
  • Employers should also be open to reassigning employees to a vacant physician if there is a different position that is more conducive to their disability.
  • Employers also need to make sure the workplace is accessible to employees with disabilities.
  • Employers need to maintain an open line of communication with all employees who have disabilities. That way, their employees will feel comfortable coming to them with tips and suggestions that can make the workplace even more conducive for them.

Working Together for Success

There are countless people across the United States who live with a disability every day. Many of them are productive employees, but to ensure your practice is welcoming to employees with disabilities, there needs to be an open line of communication.

Employees should not expect their employers to know everything. After all, their manager, supervisor, or CEO might not have that same disability. It is difficult for someone to put themselves in the shoes of someone with a disability. Therefore, it is incumbent on the employee to communicate with the employer when they feel like something should be improved. Then, it is incumbent on the employer to listen and take that employee seriously.

Remember that some employees are going to be sensitive about their disabilities. Therefore, employers should make sure their employees feel comfortable coming to discuss issues related to their disability in private. When employers show that they are willing to make time to listen to employees who have a disability, employees will feel more comfortable speaking about issues with the employer.

That way, these issues do not fester, employees are more productive, the employer is more productive, and productivity rates go up. When employees and employers are willing to work together, everyone benefits.

Recommended Reading: Severing Ties: A Look at the Do's and Don'ts of Severance Agreements

Case Studies

So, what do you need to do to ensure employees with disabilities feel welcome in the workplace? There are a few examples you need to follow. They include:

  • Hearing Issues: Is there an employee who has a difficult time hearing in the workplace? If you need to share feedback with them, you may want to provide feedback and writing instead of verbally.
  • Accessible Parking: Even though preferred parking spots might be reserved for your physicians and doctors, you may want to show that you are willing to provide accessible parking to individuals who have a hard time walking long distances.
  • Wheelchairs: Some employees in the workplace might require wheelchairs. You should make sure there is always a wheelchair ramp outside, particularly because some of your patients might need to use a wheelchair as well. Then, you might also want to consider increasing the amount of space between desks to make it easier for someone with a wheelchair to go by.
  • Service Animals Are Welcome: Do you have an employee with a chronic medical condition? Do you have employees with mental health issues? If so, they might require service animals. Even though you might have a policy that prohibits animals, you might want to make an exception so that these employees can bring their service animals to work.
  • Vision Issues: Low vision is relatively common. You might have an employee who suffers from low vision. If that is the case, you might want to get a screen magnifier or a screen reader to make it easier for the employee to do his or her job.

These are just a few examples of case studies that show just how your practice might be able to make adjustments that make it easier for people with disabilities to contribute to the workplace. If you have questions about other changes you can make to make it easier for people with disabilities in the workplace, we can help you.

Ensure All of Your Employees Feel Welcome

Diversity and inclusion are important in the workplace, including disability rights. You need to provide a reasonable accommodation when you receive an accommodation request, but how can you make the process as smooth as possible?

How HR for Health Can Help

Ready to get started with HR for Health? Contact us today to set up a fifteen-minute consultation and learn more about how HR for Health can help your practice grow and protect you from various HR challenges. 

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