Did you know people with disabilities comprise the largest minority group in America according to the Disability Funder’s Network? In fact it’s the only minority group that anyone of us can become a member of at any time. July 26, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). What does this mean to you and your business? To keep it very simple: the Americans with Disabilities Act made it illegal to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. There is much more to the ADA but for this post, we are going to focus on disability employment.
Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any business with over 15 or more employees must provide equal opportunities to people with disabilities. It’s required for employees to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities if they are competitively employable. What does that mean? Anyone that could reasonably perform the job duties with a bit of added assistance should be given an opportunity to succeed. Reasonable accommodations are not as scary as they sound, think about a sign language interpreter or creating a braille job application. Businesses can even receive tax breaks or credits for hiring people with disabilities. You can read more about those incentives in a previous Blogging4Jobs post.
How can your business celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act anniversary? There are many ways to participate and increase disability employment awareness from the ground up. Your organization can pledge to support the Americans with Disabilities Act online to make sure the legislation is going strong for another 25 years! It’s easy to pledge online and once you show your support as an organization, encourage your employees to do the same.
Did you know the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinated a legacy bus tour to spread awareness about disability rights? The bus has visited many cities around the country and continues to tour throughout the year. What if you invited your employees to one of the stops to learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act? It would be an easy way to increase awareness and provide a fun experience to your employees. The full list of tour stops is available online.
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Promoting the Americans with Disabilities Act anniversary to your entire organization could be as easy as a paragraph in your internal newsletter! Simple yet effective ideas include: sharing historical information about the Americans with Disabilities Act or easy-to-digest facts over the course of the year. The Americans with Disabilities Act website has some great videos available online that briefly discuss the history and impact of this legislation.
What if you are ready to take it to the next level? Your business could learn a thing or two from other companies that have had great success hiring people with disabilities. In a previous post companies such as Accenture, KPMG, Sodexo and more are highlighted for their varying disability employment initiatives. Or another example is highlighting Marriott Hotels or Starbucks; both companies have increased their bottom line by hiring people with disabilities.
It doesn’t matter how you spread awareness about the Americans with Disabilities Act anniversary, it’s important that you take the time as a company and individual to support this legendary legislation. At the core, disability rights are civil rights. None of us know when we could face a disability, so it’s even more necessary to create opportunities for those that are deserving of an employment identity, disability or not.