Discriminating against employees based on their disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), along with specific state and local laws. Such violations may subject you to heavy fines and other penalties, so it is critical that you take steps to prevent disability discrimination in the workplace.
Here are several things you can do:
Hire for performance
Avoiding disability discrimination often starts during the recruitment phase. When hiring employees, it helps to focus on a candidate’s ability to perform tasks effectively and efficiently, regardless of their disability.
Consider job requirements
To avoid disability discrimination, it is generally wise to avoid requiring a medical examination before you extend an offer to a candidate. And when you do need a medical exam after making an offer, you should ensure it is job-related and that all your employees go through it.
Train your staff
Preventing disability discrimination is often an organization-wide effort, so it helps when all staff members are on the same page. All employees should understand and recognize actions and behaviors that constitute disability discrimination. Managers should also know how to support disabled employees and handle discrimination complaints.
Policies clarify your stance on disability discrimination and provide guidelines for everyone in your organization to follow. Which policies you develop will likely depend on the circumstances in your workplace, but the following make for a solid start:
- Policies for accommodating disabled employees
- Procedures for reporting discrimination
- Policies related to inclusivity and equality
Preventing disability discrimination gives everyone a fair chance at securing employment, but it is not always easy for employers to do. Authorities, such as employment law attorneys and human resource professionals, can guide you and help ensure your organization adequately supports all employees, even those with disabilities.