Business owners are sometimes cautious when hiring candidates with disabilities. Despite the protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, hiring managers often worry about using the wrong language or not having the right accommodations and may hold back in their hiring efforts. Unfortunately, these uncertainties will keep people with disabilities out of the workforce – which means some of your most qualified and hardest working candidates will never work at your firm.
There are countless resources online that can answer all of your technical questions related to hiring, training, and retaining employees with disabilities. At Accessibility.com, we frequently publish content related to employment and people with disabilities.
Bookmark this page and use it as a master guide for finding the resources you need. Here are checklists, videos, legal explanations, and other tools you can use to make your hiring more inclusive.
The ADA website frequently posts updates and explanations of its best practices. If you are concerned about a particular section of ADA guidelines and want clarification, this is where you go. For example, the ADA currently has technical resources with FAQs for service animals and primers for small business owners.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The EEOC is the federal governing body that fights employment discrimination. This is where you can turn to learn about the laws protecting employees with disabilities and the employers who hire them. The EEOC also has frequently updated Coronavirus resources to protect your employees as they return to work during the pandemic.
National Organization on Disability
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) has an interactive tracker that allows you to confidentially assess your company. You can review whether your company is actually friendly to accessible candidates and set benchmark goals for improvement. This assessment can help you qualify for awards and recognition for your organization.
This is a great place to start if you want to make your company more accessible and inclusive because it provides an objective checklist to see what needs to get done.
Job Accommodation Network
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers free and confidential guidance on accommodations and disability employment. They provide resources to employers who are looking to make the workplace more accessible while also helping individuals whose needs aren’t met.
Some of the resources the JAN has include a well-organized ADA library and several A to Z guides on different disabilities and conditions. As an employer, you can learn about different disabilities and how to better accommodate the employees who have them.
SHRM: Developing an accessible workplace
The Society for Human Resource Management has multiple guides and kits for employment best practices. Start with their "Developing an Accessible Workplace" toolkit which covers everything from laws to hiring practices.
If you are a member of SHRM, you may also benefit from the state law comparison tool to see which laws are relevant in your area and how they compare by state.
ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program
The ADA requires state and local entities that have more than 50 employees to designate an ADA coordinator. This person oversees compliance and stays up to date on ADA best practices. The ACTCP was developed so participants can gain an in-depth knowledge of ADA issues. This program can help you build an ADA-compliant infrastructure within your organization. Learn more about the different training requirements and how to meet them.
Our team at Accessibility.com constantly updates and adds to a glossary of terms related to disability. This list also includes terms that are considered offensive and explains why they shouldn’t be part of your vernacular. The list also offers alternatives so you can use inclusive language in the workplace.
National Council on Disability
The National Council on Disability (NCD) provides recommendations to the various branches of government on a federal level. While this organization does not directly provide legal or advocacy help for people with disabilities, it does have some valuable resources that you can use online.
Use this site to familiarize yourself with accessibility laws and any changes that are made through Congress. The NCD also keeps an updated newsroom with reports on federal discussions related to disability.
Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration is a federally run program that supports entrepreneurs and job creators. It’s a valuable resource for people seeking funding and for learning about running a business.
The SBA offers free counseling to help business owners create an inclusive culture and find top talent. It also highlights the financial incentives (including tax benefits) of hiring people with disabilities.
Return on Disability
Return on Disability provides data-driven resources on the impact of disability in the global economy. The disability market makes up 1.85 billion people and $1.9 trillion in annual disposable income – making its economy larger than China. By highlighting the numbers behind the disability market (and the potential to hire employees with disabilities) − this organization proves the value of focusing on and investing in this demographic.
Assistive Technology Industry Association
The goal of the ATIA is to promote the development and use of assistive technologies so employees with disabilities have the best tools at their disposal. They have a dedicated learning center, annual conferences, and other professional resources.
This organization is meant for manufacturers and developers of assistive technology, but they have business-facing materials to help employers as well.
The Arc is an organization that protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There is a page on its website that is dedicated to employment and ensuring people with disabilities can grow in a healthy work environment. You can use this site to find an Arc chapter near you and access resources related to employment and disability.
Campaign for Disability Employment
The Campaign for Disability Employment asks employers one simple question: what can you do? What can you do to improve your workplace for people with disabilities? What can you do to be more inclusive?
This organization has several PSAs and stories from job seekers. They also have opportunities for your company to connect with local organizations that recruit people with disabilities. Employers can also celebrate NDEAM (National Disability Employment Awareness Month) which falls each October.
This organization is a disability-led nonprofit with the goal of changing how society views people with disabilities. RespectAbility has offices in Maryland and California but continues to grow each year.
Along with providing resources to employers, RespectAbility has links to multiple business-focused disability organizations and career resources that your company can use.
Pennsylvania Business Leadership Network
The PBLN has curated a best practices checklist for employers who want to improve their hiring. The tasks on the list range from getting CEO buy-in to creating accessible products or services that people with disabilities would want to use. You can use this list to evaluate how inclusive your company really is.
You can also visit the National BLN to your chapter.
Use our resources to improve your business
At Accessibility.com, we strive to empower employers, organizations, and individuals to create a more inclusive environment. Allow us to be your guide to create a safer and more comfortable experience for people with disabilities.
The resources above offer high-quality information and tools that you can use. Our website can also serve as a go-to for improving your operations. Learn more about our digital accessibility resources, developing an accessibility charter, legal information, and much more for your company.