Americans with Disabilities Act: Crisis or Opportunity?

By

Daniel T. Bloom SCRP

Attention HR Managers: Still having problems locating that much needed IT employees? Exhausted all the obvious sources for locating those candidates? There very well might be an acre of diamonds out there, which is being overlooked.

In 1990, President George Bush signed into law the American's With Disabilities Act. The purpose of the act was to prohibit discrimination in hiring of the disabled. Since then many employers have gone out of their way to avoid looking at resources for hiring the handicapped because of the presence of a myth, which says that it is too costly to hire them. However, the law plainly states that an employer is only required to make reasonable accommodations for the needs of a handicapped employee. So what constitutes a reasonable accommodation?

Before we answer that question, it is appropriate to look at the definition in the law. The law specifically states that a reasonable accommodation means a) modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position the qualified applicant desires; b) modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job. Your best clue as to what a handicapped employee requires in order to perform the essential function of the position is the employee, himself or herself. The other important factor is that most accommodations can be done relatively inexpensively. Information regarding accommodations is obtainable from the Job Accommodations Network (http://janweb.icdi.wvu.edu/).

Here is the problem confronting you. You have a number of critical positions open that can not be filled and you need a new source for recruiting. The size of the handicapped market indicates that there may be a number of qualified individuals in that population that can perform the work that needs to be done. How do you reach them?

Here are some sources for reaching the handicapped pool of qualified employees:

• Local Chapter of the National Easter Seals Society

• State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies

• United Cerebral Palsy Associations

• Veteran Service Organizations

• State Employment Agencies

• Goodwill Industries

In this era of supposed lack of employee loyalty to the organization, hiring the handicapped can bring you some of the most loyal employees you will ever have. In addition there are some very good cases of instances where the handicapped have outperformed the rest of the population. Take in to consideration Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Each was in their own right considered handicapped under ADA and yet they have made long lasting contributions to the society in which they lived and to the future. A handicap does not mean that the person can not contribute to you organization in a highly valuable fashion.

 

Daniel Bloom is President of Daniel Bloom & Associates;Inc, a company who specializes in providing custom designed relocation services to corporations nationwide. By going to our website at http://dbaiconsulting.com you are welcome to join our relocation-issues mailing list. Ask your peers about your relocation questions. You can contact Dan Bloom at dan@dbaiconsulting.com or by phone at 727-581-6216.