NEWS FROM NW ADA CENTER – IDAHO
Busting Myths about Hiring People with Disabilities
As the subject of disability inclusion in the workforce becomes more prevalent, let’s take a closer look at some of the myths surrounding the hiring of people with disabilities.
1. Cost to accommodate is too exorbitant.
According to national research on this topic, most accommodations cost less than $500. Some real estate accommodations, such as widening doors, installing ramps, etc exceed that cost. However, these are upgrades that also increase the accessibility of your business for customers too! Often things like lighting and noise considerations for people on the autism spectrum are low cost.
2. More apt to require and exceed sick days.
Studies show people with disabilities had fewer scheduled absences than those without, and fewer unscheduled absences. One explanation is that employees with disabilities have already established routines and focus on their health.
3. Too difficult/controversial for employers to take disciplinary action.
Disabled employees should be treated the same as abled-bodied employees – with respect and dignity; as well as given opportunities for advancement and coaching when required.
4. Employers are more likely to be sued.
American society has become more litigious, and people are more apt to sue if they believe they have been wronged. However suing an employer is not the first thing people with disabilities think about. It’s difficult to find a job as a disabled candidate, this means they are not quick to leave an organization. Most would rather work in an organization that is fair and equitable.
5. People with disabilities make others uncomfortable.
People naturally feel uncomfortable with people they don’t know, so it can be challenging. The most important points are to be respectful, approachable, qualified, presentable, and business oriented.
6. Unable to meet performance standards.
If an individual can’t meet performance standards, that’s a problem regardless of whether they have a disability or not. That’s why accommodations are so important. Address j any problems as quickly as possible, and find ways to help them improve. This has nothing to do with having a disability, but instead is being professional.
7. More likely to have an accident at work.
Again, data says this is not true. People with disabilities usually know their weaknesses and avoid danger and accidents. Safety comes first, across the board.
In some cases, time to train or to make an environment accessible can be longer than for an able-bodied employee. But it’s worth it to question whether the person is qualified and competitive. Allowing for reasonable time to train should be acceptable, and sends the right message throughout the business. If you want help concerning requirements for accommodations from the ADA contact me.
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website: nwadacenter.org/idaho
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 711