Workplace Design And Accommodating Workers With Disabilities


Published on

Presented at the Older HealthCare Workers Conference co-hosted by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group and the Great Lakes Centers for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health (University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health)

  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Workplace Design And Accommodating Workers With Disabilities

  1. 1. Workplace Design and Accommodating workers with Disabilities Department on Disability and Human Development University of Illinois at Chicago Robin Jones, Director DBTAC-Great Lakes ADA Center Glenn Hedman, Coordinator Assistive Technology Unit (ATU)
  2. 2. Legal Context <ul><li>Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – Section 504 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Entities receiving Federal funds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Non-discrimination on the basis of disability in employment or programs and services offered </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-discrimination on the basis of disability in employment (Title I) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Private Employers of 15 or more employees </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public Employers of 1 or more employees </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides leave for up to 3 months within 12 month period of time for individuals based on qualifying events ( Including disability ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>State Worker’s Compensation Insurance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides for payment of income, medical and rehabilitation services for workers injured on the job (May result in a long term limitation or disability ) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>State and Local Human Rights or Fair Employment Laws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect against discrimination on the basis of disability </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Increasing Prevalence of Disability in the U.S. Workforce <ul><ul><li>The 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 year old U.S. population is projected to grow by nearly 44.2 million (17%) and 35 Million (39%) in the next ten years* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This group will account for nearly half (44%) of the working age population (20-64) by the year 2010* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The prevalence of disability grows with age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 2010 the number of people with disabilities between the ages of 50 and 65 will almost double, and will be significantly larger than at any other age** </li></ul></ul><ul><li>*From U. S. Census Bureau population projects accessed September 26, 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>**From “The Economic Consequences of Disability Onset Near Retirement,” mimeo, Robert Weathers 2005. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Reasonable Accommodation: The to being “qualified” “ Modification or adjustment to the application process, the position itself, the work environment, or the way things are usually done” – EEOC ADA Enforcement Guidance
  7. 7. Principles of Reasonable Accommodation <ul><li>A reasonable accommodation must be an effective accommodation </li></ul><ul><li>The reasonable accommodation obligation applies only to accommodations that reduce barriers to employment as they relate to an individuals disability </li></ul><ul><li>A reasonable accommodation need not be the best accommodation , as long as it is effective </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>An employer is not required to provide an accommodation that is primarily for personal use (i.e. wheelchair, hearing aid, guide dog, eyeglasses, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>ADA requirements do not prevent an employer from providing accommodations beyond what is required by the ADA. The ADA is a minimum standard . </li></ul>
  9. 9. Common Limitations found in Older Healthcare Workers <ul><li>Susceptible to allergic sensitivities from long-term latex and chemical exposure </li></ul><ul><li>Experience decreased visual acuity from harsh lighting </li></ul><ul><li>Musculoskeletal disorders from lifting </li></ul><ul><li>Decreased muscle mass in joints affecting their ability to lift weight from any position </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of other health conditions acquired through the aging process (fatigue, hearing loss, arthritis, etc.) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Potential Accommodations: <ul><li>Decentralizing nursing stations </li></ul><ul><li>Utilizing over-bed lifts and other lift assistance equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring wires, equipment and cords are out of walkways </li></ul><ul><li>Using portable electronic records keeping stations </li></ul><ul><li>Aesthetically designing workspaces with good lighting, visually sensitive color schemes and aesthetic facility textures </li></ul><ul><li>Decreasing noise levels </li></ul><ul><li>Utilizing big screen monitors with images on dark backgrounds with white letters </li></ul><ul><li>Instituting “no lift” policies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surveyed over a 12-month period, nursing facilities that instituted “No Manual Lift” policies saw a decrease in employee injuries by nearly 97% (AARP, 2007a) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Use of Workplace Flexibility Practices <ul><li>Periodic rest breaks </li></ul><ul><li>Worker rotation </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible start/end schedules to take advantage of workers most productive times. </li></ul><ul><li>Part-time or job sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible rather than scheduled break times </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to work from home when symptoms severe </li></ul>Visit for more information on accommodations for people with specific disabilities.
  12. 12. What is the cost of providing accommodations? <ul><li>Survey of entities who used the federally funded Job Accommodation Network (JAN) 2004-2006 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>46% reported $0.00 cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>45% reported 1 time costs (equipment, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7% reported on-going, annual costs to the company </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2% reported a combination of one-time and annual costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On average, for every $1 paid for an accommodation they received over $10 in benefits from the accommodation </li></ul></ul>Source: University of Iowa, Law, Health Policy and Disability Center 2006
  13. 13. Key Issues/Lessons Learned <ul><li>There is no end to what might be an accommodation-Whether or not it is “reasonable” is a case by case determination </li></ul><ul><li>Employers should be proactive in addressing the need for accommodations with any employee who is experiencing performance related problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Majority of disability is invisible. Best practice is to be proactive with ALL employees. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Never say “NO” to an accommodation request before: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Considering the full array of options, not just what the individual has requested </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploring resources to assist with the cost of an accommodation and/or problem solving potential accommodations </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Monitor the effectiveness of accommodations and/or the on-going need for an accommodation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some accommodations may only be needed short term </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accommodation needs may change as the job changes and/or the individuals disability changes (age, etc.) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Major Policy Issues <ul><li>Publicly funded Vocation Rehabilitation System stops serving individuals at the age of 60. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Policies within traditional systems supporting employment of people with disabilities need to recognize that the workforce is aging and similar supports are needed for this population </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “Aging” system is not equipped to address “disability” and “employment” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-public employment services for people with disabilities do not have systems in place to serve older workers with disabilities </li></ul>
  17. 17. Accommodations make good business sense! Questions? 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) [email_address]
  18. 18. Still Have Questions? <ul><li>By telephone </li></ul><ul><ul><li>800-949-4232 (v/tty) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>By fax </li></ul><ul><ul><li>312-413-1856 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>By e-mail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>By internet </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>