Interviewing and Hiring people with Disabilities Center for Accessible Living, Disability Resource Center
Our decision to hire a person is usually a lengthy, belabored process Our decision to not hire a person, for whatever reasons, is often quick Food for Thought
2000 Census: 19.3% of Americans self-reported as having a disability. 58 million Americans with disabilities…. 1 in 5. 20 million families have at least one (1) member with a disability. Disability Today Source: www.census.gov
Disability Today American Sign language is the third most used language in the US. Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the US, currently with 1 in 150* births.
Disability Today Employment rate for people with disabilities has remained at about 35% since the passage of the ADA in 1990. Compared to a 78% employment rate for non-disabled. Employment rates from a joint NOD/Harris Poll, 2004
Disability Today People with disabilities continue to represents a largely untapped and diverse pool of qualified job candidates
Disability Today In a recent national survey: 92% of consumers surveyed felt more favorable toward companies that hire individuals with disabilities. 87% said they would prefer to give their business to such companies. Consumer Percentages from http://www.csde.umb.edu/research/survey.shtml
Disability Today People with disabilities have $175 billion in disposable income. Almost two times the spending power of teens. Persons with disabilities increased their use of the Internet at twice the rate of people without disabilities (400% versus 200%) between December 1998 and June 2001. Income according to the U.S. Department of Labor: www.dol.gov Internet use according to the National Organization on Disabilities, www.nod.org
Disability Today As access has become more widely available, people with disabilities are increasingly participating in society and our communities.
Shedding some light on Disability & Dispelling myths
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Is civil rights legislation, NOT an affirmative action law Does not require hiring or prohibit firing people with disabilities Does require hiring the most qualified person , even if person has a disability. Does not require “special privileges,” only ensures equality.
Accommodations are usually very expensive… FALSE! 50.5% of accommodations cost nothing The average accommodation is reported as being a one time cost of $500 or less . Figures from the Job Accommodation Network: http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/LowCostHighImpact.pdf
More Myths People with disabilities are generally out sick more often. People with disabilities are more likely to have accidents than other employees. An employer’s workers’ compensation rates rise when they hire workers with disabilities. http://oshkoshwdc.com/data/Studies_Related_to_the_Employment_of_Individuals_with_Disabilities.pdf
More Myths People with mental illness are more likely to be violent than non-disabled. Workers with prior mental illness cannot work in a fast-paced, high pressure jobs. People with learning disabilities generally have lower IQs than other people.
More Myths Most Deaf people can read lips. Most blind people can read Braille. People with disabilities are not highly motivated.
Interviewing and Hiring people with Disabilities
Permanent, long term, or expected impact from the impairment
Check Accessibility Before you Recruit Physical : Entrances, doors, walkways, work areas, restrooms, break rooms Other : signage, alternate formats, interpreters, company specific software, website
Employee Attitudes Before you Recruit Educate disability Celebrate disability Make it part of diversity programs
Application Process Pre-employment When advertising the job: include only those qualifications that are absolutely necessary for the job and are actually required to perform the essential functions of that job EEO statement in advertisements
Application Process Pre-employment Let applicants know that accommodations can be provided upon request Let them know who to contact if they have questions or just want to request the accommodation… whether it's in the job posting or during the application process Are application and tests accessible?
“ People first” language Don’t make assumptions on appearance Focus on ability, not disability Introduce yourself and use a normal tone of voice Offer to shake the individual's hand Interview Basic Etiquette
Make sure your interview space is accessible Provide the applicant with an estimate of the interview duration and the expected end time, to arrange for transportation Let them know if they’ll be filling anything out or taking any test at the interview Interview Logistics
Interview Speak directly to the interviewee instead of through a companion, their personal attendant, or Sign Language interpreter Don’t fear “foot-in-mouth syndrome” with expressions like “see” “walk”, etc. – They’re OK! Always ask the same questions of all interviewees, regardless if they have a disability or not Conversation
Interview Must not measure impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills, unless those skills are what the test is intended to measure Accommodations are required May not be used to screen out applicant on the basis of disability who can perform the essential functions with or without an accommodation, despite inability to pass test Employment Tests
Interview Pre-offer : none of either Post offer : both OK, if required of all applicants in same job category During employment : must be job related and consistent with business necessity; or to process reasonable accommodation requests if disability is not obvious or already known Disability Questions & Medical Exams
Interview About applicant’s impairment About applicant’s mental health treatment About applicant’s use of medications About applicant’s worker comp. history Prohibited Questions
Interview If applicant can perform essential functions of the job About current use of illegal drugs If applicant has engaged in workplace violence If applicant will need accommodation in application process Whether someone with an obvious disability will require a reasonable accommodation to perform the job Permitted Questions
Accommodations Have a written policy on accommodation and let ALL your employees know It's important to create an environment that permits people with hidden disabilities that may not be visibly obvious that allows those individuals to disclose their disability if necessary, and to feel comfortable enough to do so. Can be requested at any time; during application, interview, and on the job.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN EMPLOYEE Accommodations
Based on objective medical or other factual evidence.
Consider whether risk can be eliminated or reduced by reasonable modification.
An individual with a disability may be excluded if she or he poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others:
Accommodations The accommodation process is ongoing and interactive ! Involve the individual It’s on a case by case basis Document…Document…Document Accommodation doesn’t have to be fancy Final Words
Employment Again, have a policy on accommodation and let ALL your employees know Equal access means “same benefits and privileges” as well On the Job
Disability Etiquette & Practical Tips for working with specific groups
People with Mobility Impairments Try to get to eye level when communicating Respect personal space… don't touch or lean on any of their mobility devices like wheelchairs, scooters, canes, walkers, etc. Don’t Move their mobility Devices! Again, don't assume a person with a disability needs assistance. Ask first. Listen to their response.
Myth buster : Not all Deaf people read lips... Not all hard of hearing people know ASL Speak directly to the person, not to the interpreter… keep eye contact Use a normal tone of voice, unless asked to speak up Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Know the importance of (licensed) ASL interpreters To get the person's attention, either tap them on the shoulder, wave your hand, flick lights Facial expressions and movement Unobstructed mouth What is a relay call? 711? VP?
Myth Buster : only about 10-20% read Braille Alternative formats, i.e. large print, electronic, audio tape, etc. Service animals are working , ask before you pet or interact with them Ask, don’t assume People with Visual Impairment
Use a normal tone of voice announce yourself to the person announce your entrance and exit Proper guidance methods, descriptive directions People with Visual Impairment
People with Speech Difficulties Give your full attention, repeat what they say back to them for verification Don’t finish their sentence or thought If you don’t understand, it’s ok … Ask the person to repeat it or even write it down Use a normal tone of voice when speaking to the person
Little People, People of Short Stature Remember, little people are adults, so treat them as adults. Again, ask if they need assistance before acting.
People with Psychiatric Disabilities The best accommodation for people with psychiatric disabilities tends to be flex time. Watch your words: i.e. “crazy,” “nuts,” etc. Don’t make assumptions about abilities, including ability to handle stress Be sensitive to the need for privacy of information about the disability (& accommodations)
Hidden Disabilities Just because you can’t see the disability, doesn’t mean it’s not there! Be respectful of personal privacy and don’t ask about their disability.
Hidden Disabilities The best accommodation for people with many hidden disabilities is flex time. Be sensitive to the need for privacy of information about the disability (& accommodations) Just because you can’t see the disability, doesn’t mean it’s not there!
People with cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, head injury Myth buster : most people with a learning disability actually have a higher-than-average IQ Be Patient! Try and provide a quiet work environment
People with cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, head injury ask the person if they prefer verbal, written, or hand signed instructions, or a combination of the instructions. Getting notes, e-mail follow-ups, can all help the individual remember the content of the information
People with respiratory conditions (asthma, multiple chemical sensitivities) Air fresheners, Cleaning products, perfumes and colognes, can trigger a reaction Encourage and lead by example, including in interviews, by not wearing fragrances Don’t make assumption based on appearance Watch out for retaliation, backlash
People with HIV/AIDS & Cancer Survivors Are protected under the ADA The history or record is on a need to know basis for managers/employees Flex time, again, the best accommodation
Employment www.calky.org/Links.html Job Accommodation Network www.jan.wvu.edu/ Your local CIL, State and local agencies, community organizations HR Supports
Employment The Employee with the Disability! HR Supports
Center for Accessible Living www.calky.org 305 W Broadway, Suite 200 • Louisville, KY 40202 (502) 589-6620 (v) • (502) 589-6690 (TDD) * * * * * 1051 N. 16th Street, Suite C • Murray, KY 42071 (270) 753-7676 (v) • (270) 767-0549 (TDD) * * * * *