Disability inclusion involves making accommodations for workers with disabilities. This might seem like a given. However, many workplaces do not make these accommodations. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important disability inclusion is in the workplace. This inclusion ensures that employees are treated with respect. It can also help companies boost their earnings significantly. The 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act was on July 26th, this is a good time to learn more about how disability inclusion benefits workers and employers.
Importance of Disability Inclusion
At its core, disability inclusion shows that employers value workers with disabilities. Employers who refuse to make these accommodations risk losing workers to more inclusive companies. They also take the risk of dealing with disability allegations. These allegations could end up costing companies. In fact, disability allegations occurred at a rate of 36.1 percent in 2020. This made them the second most filed employment discrimination charges. This rate could rise even higher in 2021 due to the pandemic. Employers could be facing increased allegations caused by COVID-related disability discrimination, such as forcing employees with disabilities to return to the workplace rather than continuing to work from home.
Benefits of Accommodating Workers with Disabilities
Taking steps to accommodate workers with disabilities isn’t just the right thing for employers to do. Disability inclusion helps employers retain these workers, lowering employee turnover. Companies who accommodate workers with disabilities also make more money. Walgreens serves as one example of this success. After adopting a nationwide inclusion program, Walgreens found that workers with disabilities had higher productivity rates. The company also had an improved safety record as accidents on the job decreased. Workers with disabilities also stayed with the company longer. All of these results led to significant cost savings for Walgreens. The company spent less money on training new employees, job recruiting and paying overtime to other staff.
Ways to Accommodate Workers with Disabilities
The Employing Abilities @ Work Certificate provides one way for employers to work toward disability inclusion. This training program helps human resources professionals learn more about accommodating workers with disabilities through a series of courses. Earning this certification can help your HR staff gain an in-depth understanding of disability inclusion.
Companies can also engage in the interactive process when employees with disabilities request accommodations. In fact, this is a requirement under Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s important for companies to understand what this means. The interactive process involves equity, documentation and good faith efforts. Companies also need to make sure this is a consistent process.
What does it cost to set up accommodations? These cost less than $500 on average. This low cost makes accommodations far less expensive than defending against disability allegations in court. Spending the money upfront to engage in the interactive process and provide accommodations lowers the risk of having to spend considerable money on legal fees.
Knowing how to effectively engage in the interactive process and set up accommodations can be challenging. The Hopkins Group can make this entire process easier. Our HR consultants can guide companies through the process of becoming more inclusive for workers with disabilities. We can also ensure regulatory compliance with the ADA, such as making a workplace bathroom more accessible for those with disabilities.
If you need more information on providing accommodations for workers with disabilities, please contact The Hopkins Group today.