More than 80% of Americans with disAbilities are unemployed. Most of these people would very much prefer to be employed. Sometimes the barriers to employment are related to the disAbility itself, and sometimes the barriers are created by co-workers and employers in the form of false assumptions.
It’s not fair.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against Americans who have disAbilities. The ADA requires employers with 15 employees or more to make “reasonable accommodation” to enable a person with a disAbility to perform at his or her job. The accommodations level the play field so that a person with a disAbility can make contributions in the workplace. In other words, accommodations make the workplace more fair, not less fair.
Employees with disAbilities are too expensive.
More than half of all workplace accommodations or adjustments cost nothing to the employer. These include accommodations such as permitting sitting instead of standing, or standing instead of sitting. For the accommodations that do require an expenditure, there is typically a one-time cost of about $500 (such as a wheelchair-accessible desk), which quickly pays for itself in the form of increased productivity, decreased insurance and training costs and longer tenure of the employee.
There’s no proof that this person can do the job.
In most cases, the only way to prove this is to go ahead and do the job. If proof of ability were to be required of every applicant, no one would ever be able to get his or her first job and no one would ever be promoted to higher levels of responsibility. This assumption is a good example of blatant discrimination.
All new employees should be healthy.
Employers are prohibited from asking employees about medical conditions either before or after being hired, but they are allowed to ask if an applicant is capable of performing the job requirements. Medical screenings are permitted as long as all employees go through the same screening for job-related requirements. The truth is that many new employees have some type of pre-existing medical condition, such as a thyroid disease, a pregnancy or a history of depression. The same consideration must be given to employees with disAbilities, according to the ADA. Every applicant deserves to be considered on the basis of past qualifications and present job requirements.