The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that individuals with disabilities get the same rights and access to public accommodations. It requires businesses to make reasonable changes or modify their services, goods, facilities, and employment practices so that everyone can experience the same level of accessibility.
At the workplace, ADA compliance ensures that people with disabilities have equal employment opportunities and job security once hired. This compliance is not limited to the physical aspect of your company. It also includes digital properties like applications, websites, and ADA compliant documents.
This article will discuss nine best practices for following ADA compliance policy at your organization.
9 Practices for ADA compliance in the workplace
1. Stating employee handbook policies
You should clearly state in your employee handbook that your organization can provide reasonable accommodations to an employee and that there are no repercussions if an employee requests a reasonable accommodation. When you have it in your handbook policies, it makes your employees aware of it, and they can understand the steps necessary to request one.
2. Requesting medical documentation
The EEOC says employees are not required to take an interactive process if their reasonable accommodation need seems too obvious. Hence, the employer must judge the situation well and decide when medical documentation is required from a professional.
If you think the need for accommodation and disability is clear, a face-to-face conversation that discusses the functional limitations and the nature of the employee’s disability is enough to understand the type of accommodation required. Moreover, requesting medical documents from their healthcare professionals is neither permissible nor required in such situations.
Requesting medical documents and information is only necessary when the employee’s disability is not visible, for example, if they have depression, diabetes, or migraine. This will also eliminate the possibility of assuming their disability.
3. Maintaining flexibility
Being rigid to the set practices causes complications with ADA workplace compliances. For example, if your organization only follows an initial telephonic interview, then you should be open to flexibility for deaf applicants. In such situations, the employer must be flexible and recognize other options that can work in the applicant’s favor.
4. Immersing in ADA literature
The ADA compliance policies are so comprehensive that you can never fully learn or listen enough. To ensure your workplace is ADA-compliant, you need to keep reading the requirements provided by the EEOC. And not just assistance and regulations provided by them but other training guides, articles, handbooks, and other necessary stuff.
5. Reviewing job descriptions
Job descriptions set expectations for the applicants applying for the position. They are also used to understand what the organization can help accommodate the applicant. When you have a well-crafted and updated job description, it can be helpful during the interactive process as the employee will be aware of what they are getting into.
Furthermore, a job description also allows a healthcare professional to understand whether or not the employee will be able to perform well in the job or whether they need accommodation. They will be able to accurately define the limitations that can be caused at the job and further determine what accommodations can be used. Hence, describe the daily responsibilities an applicant must perform on their job.
6. Developing budget requirements
Implementing ADA compliance policies will cost you money. But these costs are not a burden. Technically, you are investing in your organization’s growth as you don’t limit talent based on their abilities. You are reaching more talent compared to companies that do not have ADA compliance in their workplace.
Further, it is worth noting that most individuals with disabilities may not even need accommodation. And even if they do, your organization should work with the individual to make budget adjustments and fund the cause.
7. Developing manuals and training programs
Setting training programs and providing manuals to everyone, not just administrators or supervisors but every employee, is essential because ADA compliance in the workplace is not just a topic related to inclusive hiring. It’s also a great deal about sensitivity. How everyone behaves with individuals with disabilities also affects how they interact with their workplace.
8. Maintaining documents
An organization needs to provide proof of ADA policy compliance in its workplace. Hence, documenting every step taken to tackle the accessibility issues at your organization becomes necessary. Keep documents ready as evidence to support your case if your organizations ever violate the ADA policies.
9. Thinking about digital accessibility
Lastly, accommodations don’t stop at purchasing equipment for an inclusive office space. It also involves making your digital properties accessible to an applicant or employee. Ensure you meet the latest WCAG requirements for your website, documents, and digital presence.
Complying with ADA policies is not tedious when you truly want to nurture and promote a culture of inclusivity in your workplace. Make sure you repeatedly ask yourself whether whatever application or office space you have is accessible to everyone.