Every employer should have a program in place to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The following checklist of steps for employers to take could, at a minimum, constitute such a program.
___ Perform a detailed analysis of all jobs in your organization. Include all of the essential physical requirements of each job as well as behavioral requirements.
___ Assemble job descriptions that describe in detail all of the necessary physical and behavioral requirements of each position. Avoid abbreviated job descriptions—often written for compensation purposes—that state only the lines of authority, required background and experience, and primary functions. Such job descriptions are usually inadequate for purposes of the ADA. Employers now need job descriptions that describe the essential functions of the job as completely as possible.
___ Review application forms with the ADA in mind. Remove any questions on disabilities.
___ Review all selection methods and criteria (application forms, tests, physical examinations, and other criteria such as “attractiveness”). Determine whether they constitute barriers to individuals with particular disabilities. Amend selection policies to allow managers and human resources personnel to substitute other equally effective selection criteria to accommodate applicants with disabilities.
___ Revise vacancy advertisements, making sure that they state: “We are an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status, domestic partner status, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.”
___ If a telephone number is given on job vacancy notices, provide a TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) number. Consider large-print or tape-recorded versions of job announcements.
___ Devise rules for interviews of individuals with disabilities. Train managers and human resources personnel on the use of these rules.
___ If the company requires medical examinations of candidates, review the nature of these medical examinations to determine whether they’re strictly job-related. Consult medical professionals on techniques to determine whether candidates can perform all essential physical and behavioral functions of the job. Remember, an employer may conduct pre-employment medical examinations only after the applicant has been offered a job and only if medical examinations are given to all employees entering into a particular job classification.
___ Rewrite medical examination and release forms. Adapt them to any medical examinations performed and to comply with the ADA and FEHA.
___ Set up a relationship with a clinic providing appropriate medical personnel for job candidate examinations. Make sure that the clinic is adequately briefed on the meaning of “job-related” and your job descriptions. Set up a reporting procedure from the clinic to your company.
___ Review human resources recordkeeping procedures. Comply with confidentiality rules on medical examinations.
___ Adopt an orientation or introductory period if one doesn’t already exist. Implement stringent performance evaluation techniques during the orientation period.
___ Review performance evaluation forms and programs. Make sure that they’re tightly tailored to particular positions and that the criteria are job-related and can be justified under the business-necessity test. Provide further training to supervisory personnel on the need to evaluate and document performance problems consistently.
___ Train supervisory personnel on the meaning of the ADA and FEHA. Stress the duty of reasonable accommodation, accommodation resources, appropriate language to use, rules for discussing disabilities, rules for discussing accommodation needs, and how to overcome historical stereotyping.
___ Locate and secure training films and materials. Show these to employees to help sensitize them to stereotypes of individuals with disabilities and to demonstrate how these stereotypes have served as barriers to employment.
___ Obtain EEOC and FEHC posters. Display them in all required locations in compliance with the ADA and FEHA.
___ Review the following carefully for compliance with the ADA and FEHA: all employee handbooks, workers’ compensation procedures, benefits procedures manuals, and other policies; in particular, examine policies on
- Reinstatement or return to work following a leave for occupational injury
- Reinstatement or return to work following disability for nonoccupational illness or injury
- Personal leaves of absence
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Hiring, internal placement, transfers, rehires, and promotions
- Attendance control and tardiness (avoid basing the use of discipline on a specific number of days of missed attendance or tardiness)
- Timing and frequency of breaks
- Work rules or practices that may be too rigid to accommodate disabled individuals
___ Review recruiting sources. Add organizations and sources that will bring in candidates who are individuals with disabilities.
___ Appoint an in-house human resource individual. Duties will include establishing relationships with potential providers of information and accommodation devices and techniques.
___ Establish relationships with outside human resource professionals. Share information about accommodation techniques, their costs, and available alternatives.
___ Arrange for training of human resources professionals. Courses should stress behavioral problems and specific attitudes associated with specific disabilities and how to deal with them.
___ Review employee benefit packages. Make sure that medical and dental insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance plans comply with the ADA and FEHA.
___ Inform vendors, recruiters, employment agencies, temporary services agencies, and contractors of your compliance policies. Require them to certify that they will comply with the ADA and FEHA in all services provided to you. Whenever possible, demand an indemnification for noncompliance.
___ Review the physical layout of your facilities with a qualified architectural consultant. Make changes to enable full access to all areas by disabled applicants and employees.
This checklist is from CEB’s Advising California Employers and Employees §15.148. On disability discrimination laws, check out §§15.109-15.151 of that book.
Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:
- 10 Steps to Hiring Without Violating Disability Discrimination Laws
- Disability Accommodation: The Big Picture
- 7 Steps Employees Must Take to Get Disability Accommodation
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