Contact Info
 Address St. Petersburg
Supported Employment Plus Inc
11350 66 Street North; Suite 109
Largo, FL 33782 - Map


Phone: (727) 498-8751
Phone: (727) 527-1498
Fax:     (727) 498-8756
Highlights








Employers

Introduction: 
Resource Guide for Recruiting, Hiring and Employing People with Disabilities

A Program Sponsored By Supported Employment Plus Inc


Introduction:
The purpose of this booklet is to help educate employers about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and provide a basic guideline on how to start accessing this untapped labor pool.
You’ll learn more about recruiting, interviewing and employing people with disabilities, and what resources are available to help you do so.
You’ll also learn more about how to apply for the Florida Business Leadership Network (BLN).
The BLN provides information to members and access to a pool of qualified candidates with disabilities as well as recognition for disability employment practices. Membership in the BLN is FREE to all Florida Employers. Join today and begin taking advantage of the numerous benefits immediately. An application for the BLN can be found at the end of this packet.
The Able Trust believes that when people want to work, they should. The Florida Legislature created The Able Trust in 1990. It’s mission is simple: to be the leader in providing Floridians with disabilities fair employment opportunities through fundraising, grant programs, public awareness and education. Nine governor-appointed directors oversee the Foundation. They are located throughout the state and are comprised of a diverse background in the areas of business, education, media, development and disability advocacy. The Able Trust receives its funding from a perpetual endowment, grants, charitable gifts, and support from the public and private sector.
Since its creation, The Able Trust has awarded over $12 million to individuals with disabilities and nonprofit organizations in Florida. This unique foundation has helped countless individuals overcome obstacles, and enter the workforce.
Some of The Able Trust programs include; grant awards, the Youth Leadership Forum, The Able Trust annual Gala at Mar-a-Lago and High School/ High Tech. To learn more about The Able Trust and its programs, please visit the website at www.abletrust.org.
We congratulate you on taking the initiative to learn more about including people with disabilities in your business practices, and hope you enjoy the information we have provided for you. If you have any questions or need additional materials, please contact:
The Able Trust
106 East College Avenue, Ste 820
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone:
(850) 224-4493 in Tallahassee
(888) 838-2253 Toll-free/ TDD
Fax:
(850) 224-4496
Internet:
www.abletrust.org 

* Please note this information is not intended to provide specific guidance on legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For more information on the ADA, please contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at www.eeoc.gov or 1-800-669-4000 (TDD 1-800-669-6820).


Dispelling Myths about People with Disabilities

The major barriers to achievement by people with disabilities in our society continue to be attitudinal barriers, stereotypical thinking, and assumptions about what people can and can’t do. The truth is that the range of ability of persons within any disability group is enormous. We need to get rid of our stereotypical images and view each individual as just that: “an individual.” Listed below are the kinds of assumptions that can be barriers to employment for persons with disabilities.

Assumption: A person with mental retardation cannot be trained to perform a job as well as an employee without a disability.

Fact: Over two-thirds of the 4,000 participants in Pizza Hut, Inc.’s “Jobs Plus Program” are persons with mental retardation. The current turnover rate among these employees with disabilities is a modest 20% compared to the 150% turnover rate of employees without disabilities. This means a drop in recruitment and training costs.

Assumption: An individual with a psychiatric disability cannot work in a stressful environment where tight timelines have to be met.

Fact: All individuals perceive stress differently and their responses vary. Some individuals with psychiatric disabilities perform effectively in jobs that require specific timelines and structure.

Assumption: There is no way that a wheelchair racer can compete with the world’s best marathon runners.

Fact: It takes a good runner over two hours to run a marathon. A competitive wheelchair racer can  complete a marathon in less than one and a half hours.

Assumption: A person with a developmental disability and difficulty with fine motor control is  unlikely to be able to handle complex operations on the production line of a manufacturing  plant.

Fact: A person with this combination of functional limitations was hired for a production line job. The job  involved labeling, filling, capping, and packing a liquid product. The only accommodation supplied for the worker was the creation of a plywood jig. The jig enabled the worker to hold the bottle steady for correct labeling.

Assumption: It is unbelievable that a person with a double amputation can compete with the  world’s fastest 100-meter dash runners.

Fact: The world record is 9.9 seconds. A runner who is a double amputee ran the dash in 11.76 seconds, just 1.8 seconds off the world mark.

Assumption: People with severe disabilities can’t compete in heavy duty weight lifting activities.

Fact: A person with cerebral palsy has bench pressed weights in excess of 500 pounds


Assumption: A person who is blind and has a missing right hand cannot perform a job as a machinist.

Fact: The applicant lost his vision and right hand in Vietnam. He persuaded a community college to train him as a machinist and was finally given a job on a trial basis. From the very first day, he broke production records and caused others to do the same. His only modification was to move a lever from the right side of the machine to the left.

Assumption: Downhill skiers with one leg cannot really compete against racers with two legs.

Fact: Top racers without disabilities have been clocked at 80-85 miles per hour; downhill skiers with one  leg have been clocked at over 74 miles per hour.

Assumption: It is unlikely that a man whose right leg is amputated six inches above the knee can  perform the duties of a warehouseman that require loading and unloading trucks, standing, lifting, bending, and delivering supplies to various sections as needed.

Fact: A person with this type of amputation was hired to work in a paper warehouse. He performed the job without any modification. He worked out so well that the company moved him to operating heavy equipment, a log stacker. The company did not have to make any accommodations, he was able to climb ladders and the heavy equipment without any problems.


Communicating With and About People with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act, other laws and the efforts of many disability organizations have made strides in improving accessibility in buildings, increasing access to education, opening employment opportunities and developing realistic portrayals of persons with disabilities in television programming and motion pictures. Where progress is still needed is in communication and interaction with people with disabilities. Individuals are sometimes concerned that they will say the wrong thing, so they say nothing at all—thus further segregating people with disabilities. Listed here are some suggestions on how to relate to and communicate with and about people  with disabilities.

Words

Positive language empowers. When writing or speaking about people with disabilities, it is important to put the person first. Group designations such as “the blind,” “the retarded” or “the disabled” are inappropriate because they do not reflect the individuality, equality or dignity of people with disabilities. Further, words like “normal person” imply that the person with a disability isn’t normal, whereas “person without a disability” is descriptive but not negative. The accompanying chart shows examples of positive and negative phrases.

Affirmative and Negative Phrases

person with an intellectual, cognitive, retarded; mentally defective developmental disability  person who is blind, person who is  the blind  visually impaired  person with a disability  the disabled; handicapped  person who is deaf  the deaf; deaf and dumb  
person who is hard of hearing  suffers a hearing loss person who has multiple sclerosis afflicted by MS person with cerebral palsy CP victim person with epilepsy, person with epileptic seizure disorder person who uses a wheelchair confined or restricted to a wheelchair person who has muscular dystrophy stricken by MD person with a physical disability, crippled; lame; deformed physically disabled unable to speak, uses synthetic speech dumb; mute person with psychiatric disability crazy; nuts person who is successful, productive has overcome his/her disability; is courageous (when it implies the person has courage because of having a disability)


Actions

Etiquette considered appropriate when interacting with people with disabilities is based primarily on respect and courtesy. Outlined below are tips to help you in communicating with persons with disabilities.

General General Tips for Communicating with People with Disabilities

° When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually shake hands. (Shaking hands with the left hand is an acceptable greeting.)

° If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for instructions.

° Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names only when extending the same familiarity to all others.

° Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use common expressions such as “See you later,” or “Did you hear about that?” that seem to relate to a person’s disability.

° Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re unsure of what to do.

Tips for communicating with individuals who are blind or visually impaired

° Speak to the individual when you approach him or her.

° State clearly who you are; speak in a normal tone of voice.

° When conversing in a group, remember to identify yourself and the person to whom you are speaking.

° Never touch or distract a service dog without first asking the owner.

° Tell the individual when you are leaving.

° Do not attempt to lead the individual without first asking; allow the person to hold your arm and control her or his own movements.

° Be descriptive when giving directions; verbally give the person information that is visually obvious to individuals who can see. For example, if you are approaching steps, mention how many steps.

° If you are offering a seat, gently place the individual’s hand on the back or arm of the chair so  that the person can locate the seat.

Tips for Communicating with Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

° Gain the person’s attention before starting a conversation (i.e., tap the person gently on the shoulder or arm).

° Look directly at the individual, face the light, speak clearly, in a normal tone of voice, and keep your hands away from your face. Use short, simple sentences. Avoid smoking or chewing gum. 

° If the individual uses a sign language interpreter, speak directly to the person, not the interpreter.

° If you telephone an individual who is hard of hearing, let the phone ring longer than usual.

Speak clearly and be prepared to repeat the reason for the call and who you are.

° If you do not have a Text Telephone (TTY), dial 711 to reach the National Telecommunications Relay Service, which facilitates the call between you and an individual who uses a TTY.

Tips for Communicating with Individuals with Mobility Impairments

° If possible, put yourself at the wheelchair user’s eye level.

° Do not lean on a wheelchair or any other assistive device.

° Never patronize people who use wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.

° Do not assume the individual wants to be pushed —ask first.

° Offer assistance if the individual appears to be having difficulty opening a door.

° If you telephone the individual, allow the phone to ring longer than usual to allow extra time for the person to reach the telephone.


Tips for Communicating with Individuals with Speech Impairments

If you do not understand something the individual says, do not pretend that you do. Ask the individual to repeat what he or she said and then repeat it back.

Be patient. Take as much time as necessary.

Try to ask questions which require only short answers or a nod of the head.

Concentrate on what the individual is saying.

Do not speak for the individual or attempt to finish her or his sentences.

If you are having difficulty understanding the individual, consider writing as an alternative means of communicating, but first ask the individual if this is acceptable.

Tips for Communicating with Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities

If you are in a public area with many distractions, consider moving to a quiet or private location.

Be prepared to repeat what you say, orally or in writing.

Offer assistance completing forms or understanding written instructions and provide extra time for decision-making. Wait for the individual to accept the offer of assistance; do not  “over-assist” or be patronizing.

Be patient, flexible and supportive. Take time to understand the individual and make sure the individual understands you.

Remember:

Relax.

Treat the individual with dignity, respect and courtesy.

Listen to the individual.

Offer assistance but do not insist or be offended if your offer is not accepted.

Information for this fact sheet came from the Office of Disability Employment Policy; the Media Project, Research and Training Center on Independent Living, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS; and the National Center for Access Unlimited, Chicago, IL.


Do!

Do learn where to find and recruit people

Do learn how to communicate with people

D ensure that your applications and other company forms do not ask disability-related questions and that they are in formats that are accessible to all persons with disabilities.

Do consider having written job descriptions by the ADA that identify the essential functions of the job.

Do ensure that requirements for medical examinations comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Do relax and make the applicant feel comfortable.

Do provide reasonable accommodations that the

qualified applicant will need to compete for the job.

Do treat an individual with a disability the same way you would treat any applicant or employee with dignity and respect.

Do know that among those protected by the ADA are qualified individuals who have AIDS, cancer, who are mentally retarded, traumatically brain injured, deaf, blind, and learning disabled.

Do understand that access includes not only environmental access, but also making forms accessible to people with visual or cognitive disabilities and making alarms/signals accessible to people with hearing disabilities.

Do develop procedures for maintaining and protecting confidential medical records.

Do train supervisors on making reasonable accommodations.

Don’t assume that persons with disabilities are unemployable.

Don’t assume that persons with disabilities lack the necessary education and training for employment.

Don’t assume that people with disabilities do not want to work.

Don’t assume that alcoholism and drug abuse are not real disabilities, or that recovering drug abusers are not covered.

Don’t ask if a person has a disability during an employment interview.

Don’t assume that certain jobs are more suited to persons with disabilities.

Don’t hire a person with a disability if that person is a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the public and there is no reasonable accommodation to reduce the risk or the harm.

Don’t hire a person with a disability who is not qualified to perform the essential functions of the job even with a reasonable accommodation.

Don’t assume that you have to retain an unqualified employee with a disability.

Don’t assume that your current management will need special training to learn how to work with people with disabilities.

Don’t assume that the cost of accident insurance will increase as a result of hiring a person with a disability.

Don’t assume that the work environment will be unsafe if an employee has a disability.

Don’t assume that reasonable accommodations are expensive.

Don’t speculate or try to imagine how you would perform a specific job you if you had the applicant’s disability the applicant’s disability.

Don’t assume that you don’t have any jobs that a person with a disability can do.

Don’t make medical judgment.

Don’t assume that a person with a disability can’t do a job due to apparent and non-apparent disabilities.

Don’t assume that your workplace is accessible.


Employment checklist for persons with disabilities

The following are some questions to keep in mind when determining physical accessibility:

Are there designated parking spaces for persons with disabilities that are close to the entrance of the worksite?

Is there a pathway without abrupt level changes or steps that leads from the parking area to the entrance?

If ramps are used to provide access, are they appropriately graded and are handrails provided?

Are the doors wide enough (36 inches) for people using wheelchairs? Are they easy to open (e.g., not excessively heavy, with easily grasped handles, or automatic)?

Is the personnel office in an accessible location?

Are pathways to the bathroom, water fountain, and public telephone accessible? Can

people with disabilities use them?

Are elevators accessible to all persons with disabilities (e.g., control panels lower than 54 inches from the floor, raised symbols or numbers on the control panels)?

Is all signage appropriate and accessible for persons with visual, learning, and cognitive disabilities (including the use of symbols and graphics)?

·Does the emergency warning system include both audible and visual alarms?

Where Can I Obtain Additional Information?

Office of Disability Employment Policy
(202) 693-7880 (VOICE), (202) 376-6205 (TTY/TTD), (202) 693-7888 (FAX)

Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
(800) 526-7234 (VOICE/TTY/TTD), (304) 293-5407 (FAX) 
jan@jan.icdi.wvu.edu (e-mail)

Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs) 
(800) 949-4232 (VOICE/TTY/TTD), (703) 525-6835 (FAX)

Access Board
(VOICE) (800) 872-2253, (202) 272-5449 or (800) 993-2822 (TTY/TTD),
(202) 272-5447 (FAX)


Recruitment!

According to a recent Society for Human Resource Management survey, large companies are more likely to actively recruit applicants with disabilities than smaller companies. Sixty-one percent of the respondents from large companies indicated that they proactively seek out qualified employees with disabilities as compared to 53 percent of the respondents from medium size companies and 39 percent of the respondents from small companies. Historically, large employers may have had an easier time developing relationships with organizations that have access to qualified candidates with disabilities, making it easier for large companies to hire candidates with disabilities and giving them a distinct advantage in capitalizing on this available and reliable labor pool. Yet, there are a variety of recruitment resources available to all employers. This fact sheet provides some key resources.

U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment

Programs

Employment Assistance Referral Network (EARN)

866-EarnNow (866-327-6669) (V)

www.earnworks.com (Internet)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has contracted for a new service: the Employment Assistance Referral Network (EARN), which provides all employers with a direct connection to their local community service providers. EARN, a national toll-free service, makes it simple for all businesses to locate applicants with disabilities for any type of position. When EARN receives a call from an employer who wants to recruit qualified candidates with disabilities, the EARN staff takes the employer’s vacancy information and then communicates with the local employment provider community to locate providers who have contact with appropriate job candidates. Once these providers are identified, EARN calls the employer back. The employer receives the appropriate contact information and may call the designated providers to connect with applicants. Providers do not receive the employer’s contact information. This allows the employer to be in control of the process.

EARN also provides employers with technical assistance related to the employment of people with disabilities, such as tax credits, disability-related laws, lawful job interviewing techniques, recruitment and hiring strategies, ways of dealing with co-worker attitudes, personal assistance services and reasonable accommodations. EARN operates Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST.

EARN is a great place for companies to begin their recruitment efforts. Yet there are many other resources available to assist employers.

Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) 
724-891-3533 (V); 724-891-0275 (Fax)
www.wrpjobs.org (Internet)

The Office of Disability Employment Policy’s contracted service, the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), is another excellent resource for locating college students and recent graduates. Through the WRP, employers may request a database of pre-screened college students with disabilities to fill summer or permanent hiring needs. These candidates, from more than 160 colleges and universities, represent a variety of academic majors and range from college freshmen to students in graduate school or law school.


Job Analysis: An Important Employment Tool

All hiring decisions and supervisory evaluations should be made on objective criteria. A supervisor needs to know each job under his or her supervision, and the qualifications needed to perform it, to develop objective interview questions and objectively evaluate an employee’s performance. Human resource specialists who are responsible for initial screening of job applicants and mediating performance appraisal disputes must also understand the key components of the jobs in their organization.  Job analysis provides an objective basis for hiring, evaluating, training, accommodating and supervising persons with disabilities, as well as improving the efficiency of your organization. It 
is a logical process to determine (1) purpose-the reason for the job, (2) essential functions-the job duties which are critical or fundamental to the performance of the job, (3) job setting-the work 
station and conditions where the essential functions are performed, and (4) job qualifications-the minimal skills an individual must possess to perform the essential functions. A job analysis describes the job, not the person who fills it.

How to Conduct a Job Analysis

The following questions can help you to analyze each job in your organization.

Purpose: What are the particular contributions of the job toward the accomplishment of the overall objective of the unit or organization?

Essential Functions: What three or four activities actually constitute the job? Is each really necessary? (For example a secretary types, files, answers the phone, takes dictation.)  What is the relationship between each task? Is there a special sequence which the tasks must follow?  Do the tasks necessitate sitting, standing, crawling, walking, climbing, running, stooping, kneeling, lifting, carrying, digging, writing, operating, pushing, pulling, fingering, talking, listening, interpreting, analyzing, seeing, coordinating, etc.?
How many other employees are available to perform the job function? Can the performance of that job function be distributed among any other employees?

How much time is spent on the job performing each particular function? Are the tasks performed less frequently as important to success as those done more frequently?
Would removing a function fundamentally alter the job?
What happens if a task is not completed on time?


Job Setting:

Location - Where are the essential functions of the job carried out?
Organization - How is the work organized for maximum safety and efficiency? How do workers obtain necessary equipment and materials?
Movement - What movement is required of employees to accomplish the essential functions of the job?
Conditions - What are the physical conditions of the job setting (hot, cold, damp, inside, outside, underground, wet, humid, dry, air-conditioned, dirty, greasy, noisy, sudden temperature changes, etc.)? What are the social conditions of the job (works alone, works around others, works with the public, works under close supervision, works under minimal supervision, works under deadlines, etc.)?

Worker Qualifications:

What are the physical requirements (lifting, driving, cleaning, etc.)?
What are the general skills needed for the job (ability to read, write, add, etc.)?
What specific training is necessary? Can it be obtained on the job?
What previous experience, if any, can replace or be substituted for the specific training requirements?

How to Use the Job Analysis

Once the job analysis has been completed you will be in a better position to:
Develop objective job-related interview questions. Write current and accurate position descriptions. Position descriptions should be updated on a regular basis and a job analysis done if any factors outlined above have to be altered.  Perform objective performance appraisals. Determine if accommodations can assist a person with a disability to perform the job. Conduct personnel functions in a nondiscriminatory manner.

Information for this fact sheet was taken in part from Ready Willing and Available, A Business Guide for Hiring People with Disabilities.


Job Accommodations -Situations and Solutions

In December 1994 the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN) reported that 68% of job accommodations made cost less than $500, and further, that employers report that for every dollar spent on accommodations, the company received $28 in benefits. Accommodations, which are modifications or alterations, often make it possible for a qualified person with a disability to do the same job as everyone else but in a slightly different way. Some accommodations are simple adaptations; others require technically sophisticated equipment. The essential functions of the job and the functional limitations of the individual are what the employer and the employee want to match up. An employer should analyze the job tasks, basic qualifications needed to do those tasks, and the kinds of adjustments that can be made to ensure that performance standards will be met. The way the worker does the job is far less important than the outcome. The following examples are a small sampling of real situations that businesses have reported, along with the solutions used. What is common to all these situations is that accommodations are always made on an individual basis. To find solutions to your own situations, call JAN toll-free at 
1-800-526-7234.

Situation: A greenhouse worker with mental retardation has difficulty staying on task and knowing when to take breaks.

Solution: At no cost to the employer, a job coach gave initial training. The worker then carried a tape recorder that provided periodic reminders to stay on task and indicated break time. The worker also carried a set of laminated cards which showed the basic list of tasks to be completed. Cost: $50.

Situation: A radio broadcaster/announcer who is blind needs to read the AP wire news desk material.

Solution: The employer connected a Braille printer to the incoming news service, and installed a switch to move from regular printed material to Braille. Cost: $1,700.

Situation: An administrative assistant in a social service agency has a psychiatric disability that causes concentration and memory problems related to word processing, filing, and telephone work.

Solution: Accommodations included using soothing music in one earphone to block distractions and taped instructions to augment written material. Cost: $150.

Situation: A police officer has a learning disability that makes it difficult to take standard civil service tests.

Solution: Officer was permitted 50% more time to take the test and was allowed to use a dictionary during the examination. Cost: $0.

Situation: A laboratory technician has a permanent restriction on mobility of head and neck, and must use a microscope on the job.

Solution: A periscope was attached to the microscope so the worker does not need to lower her head and bend her neck to perform the job. Cost: $2,400.


Situation: A chef who is paraplegic needs a way to move around the various work stations in the kitchen.

Solution: The chef was provided with a stand-up wheelchair that allowed flexibility and mobility, thereby eliminating the need to change the worksite itself. Cost: Approximately $3,000.

Situation: A highly skilled electronics company technician who has AIDS was taking large amounts of annual and sick leave.

Solution: The employer provided a flexible work schedule and redistributed portions of the workload. The company also instituted AIDS awareness training for employees. Cost: $0.

Situation: A severe brain injury has resulted in a computer programmer’s inability to read past the vertical midline of his computer screen, starting at the left side.

Solution: The employer acquired a software package that has a feature for splitting the screen.


Diversity and Disabilities

Diversity Includes Disability

Workforce diversity has become a major management strategy for many employers in the 1990’s because it makes good business sense. A diverse workforce gives companies a competitive advantage by enabling them to better meet the needs of their customers, successfully compete in the global marketplace, and hire from an expanded labor pool. Managing diversity involves the creation of an open, supportive, and responsive organization in which diversity is acknowledged and valued. Diversity is defined as all of the ways in which we differ. Some of these dimensions are race, gender, age, language, physical characteristics, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and other differences irrelevant to one’s capacity to perform a job.

Why Do I Need To Know about Diversity and P

According to recent studies, America’s workforce is changing and rapidly growing more diverse. Over the next few decades, the largest percentage of new growth will be composed of women, ethnic minorities, and immigrants. The number of employees with disabilities will also increase. The current generation of Americans with disabilities is well prepared to be tapped for the job market and able to provide an added solution for the labor shortages facing American business. People with disabilities are the nation’s largest minority, and the only one that any person can join at any time. If you do not currently have a disability, you have about a 20% chance of becoming disabled at some point during your work life. People with disabilities cross all racial, gender, educational, socioeconomic, and organizational lines. Companies that include people with disabilities in their diversity programs increase their competitive advantage. People with disabilities add to the variety of viewpoints needed to be successful and bring effective solutions to today’s business challenges. The American economy is made stronger when all segments of the population are included in the workforce and in the customer base.


How Can My Company Support Diversity, Including Employees with Disabilities? Educate Yourself

Before moving ahead, study the issue.

• Learn more about people with disabilities. A good way to start is to contact disability-related organizations for information.

• Contact your local Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Centers for Independent Living, State/Local Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, and organizations and agencies that serve or represent specific disabilities. Many of these organizations want to assist the business sector, and some provide free training and literature.

• Talk to people with disabilities in your company and ask for their ideas and input.

Develop a Plan

Establish a system for educating and sensitizing all levels of your workforce on the value of hiring people with disabilities.

If you have a diversity training program, make sure that employees with disabilities are included in this effort.

Consider The Following Action Items:

Recruitment and Outreach

Even before positions open, seek out opportunities to develop relationships with 
organizations, agencies, and programs that represent or train people with disabilities.

Participate or increase participation in summer internships or similar programs to 
increase the flow of qualified individuals with disabilities in the “pipeline.”

When a position is approved for external hire, seek out qualified professional 
organizations that represent and serve people with disabilities.

When contracting with a retainer or contingency search firm, develop the contract 
to include qualified people with disabilities in the search. The contract should 
outline the steps that will be implemented to locate qualified people with disabilities.


Development and Planning

When task forces or other special committees are established, they should include 
people with disabilities.

Monitor to ensure that internal developmental programs are available to employees with disabilities.

Provide employees with disabilities candid and prompt feedback on their performance.

When providing training or other off-site activities, make sure that they are accessible to employees with disabilities.

Compensation and Recognition

Monitor bonuses and stock awards so that consistent job-related standards are applied.

Monitor appraisal and total compensation systems so individuals with disabilities are treated without discrimination.

 

Where Can I Obtain Additional Information?

Office of Disability Employment Policy 

(202) 693-7880 (VOICE), (202) 693-7881 (TTY/TTD),(202) 376-6219 (FAX)Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN)(800) 526-7234 (VOICE/TTY/TTD), (304) 293-5407(FAX); jan@jan.icdi.wvu.edu (e-mail)

Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs) 

(800) 949-4232 (VOICE/TTY/TTD), (703) 525-6835 (FAX)


What You Should Know about Workplace Laws

What are the Workplace Disability Laws?
During the last few years, employees have been exposed to many new laws, regulations, and acronyms. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) impact upon the workplace. These are different laws enacted at different times with different purposes, and are not totally uniform. You should know about these.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a federal antidiscrimination statute designed to remove barriers for individuals with disabilities. The ADA seeks to ensure equal access to employment opportunities regardless of whether someone has a disability. Title I prohibits discrimination against any qualified applicant or employee with a disability in all aspects of employment.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to “eligible” employees for certain family and medical reasons. Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months, and if the company employs at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius. There are some areas of interaction between FMLA and ADA. These areas include medical conditions and reasonable accommodations.
A condition that qualifies as a serious health condition may or may not satisfy the ADA definition of disability. Temporary impairments of short duration constitute a serious health condition, but are not disabilities. Conversely, being a person with a disability (e.g., quadriplegia) does not necessarily constitute having a serious health condition.
The concept of reasonable accommodation under the ADA and FMLA are different. For example, an employee undergoing chemotherapy for cancer may request a modified work schedule as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA; it must be provided unless the employer can prove it would create an undue hardship. The same employee could request time off as FMLA leave. The employer must grant an eligible employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA. There is no undue-hardship exception.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
The OSHA Reform Act requires an employer to furnish a work environment that is free of recognized hazards causing or likely to cause death or serious injury, as well as to comply with government safety and health standards. There are some areas of interaction between OSHA and ADA. These areas include standards and reporting requirements. In complying with specific OSHA standards, employers may want to consider incorporating ADA reasonable accommodation concepts. For example, OSHA requires employees to label, in writing, certain toxic materials and give written materials explaining their potential dangers to employees. An ADA reasonable accommodation could be also using the universal symbol for poison, and providing verbal warnings of the potential danger of certain toxic materials.


 


A Resource Guide for Recruiting, Hiring and Employing People with Disabilities
A Program Sponsored By Supported Employment Plus Inc



Introduction
The purpose of this booklet is to help educate employers about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and provide a basic guideline on how to start accessing this untapped labor pool.
You’ll learn more about recruiting, interviewing and employing people with disabilities, and what resources are available to help you do so.
You’ll also learn more about how to apply for the Florida Business Leadership Network (BLN).
The BLN provides information to members and access to a pool of qualified candidates with disabilities as well as recognition for disability employment practices. Membership in the BLN is FREE to all Florida Employers. Join today and begin taking advantage of the numerous benefits immediately. An application for the BLN can be found at the end of this packet.
The Able Trust believes that when people want to work, they should. The Florida Legislature created The Able Trust in 1990. It’s mission is simple: to be the leader in providing Floridians with disabilities fair employment opportunities through fundraising, grant programs, public awareness and education. Nine governor-appointed directors oversee the Foundation. They are located throughout the state and are comprised of a diverse background in the areas of business, education, media, development and disability advocacy. The Able Trust receives its funding from a perpetual endowment, grants, charitable gifts, and support from the public and private sector.
Since its creation, The Able Trust has awarded over $12 million to individuals with disabilities and nonprofit organizations in Florida. This unique foundation has helped countless individuals overcome obstacles, and enter the workforce.
Some of The Able Trust programs include; grant awards, the Youth Leadership Forum, The Able Trust annual Gala at Mar-a-Lago and High School/ High Tech. To learn more about The Able Trust and its programs, please visit the website at www.abletrust.org.
We congratulate you on taking the initiative to learn more about including people with disabilities in your business practices, and hope you enjoy the information we have provided for you. If you have any questions or need additional materials, please contact:
The Able Trust
106 East College Avenue, Ste 820
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone:
(850) 224-4493 in Tallahassee
(888) 838-2253 Toll-free/ TDD
Fax:
(850) 224-4496
Internet:
www.abletrust.org 

* Please note this information is not intended to provide specific guidance on legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For more information on the ADA, please contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at www.eeoc.gov or 1-800-669-4000 (TDD 1-800-669-6820).




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