New Federal Disabilities Guide for Employers
On February 3, 2015, the Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative, a collaborative cross-section of various federal governmental agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor, released a new resource guide for employers titled “Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities.” The purpose of the Guide “is to help employers implement commonsense solutions to ensure that people with disabilities, like all Americans, have the opportunity to obtain and succeed in good jobs and careers.” The Guide notes that while approximately 35% of people are disabled, only less than 18% are employed.
The Guide principally provides links to various resources for employer use regarding the recruitment, retention, promotion, and accommodation of individuals with disabilities. Where relevant, the Guide makes special note of mandatory practices applicable to covered government contractors and subcontractors. The Guide also suggests best practices for all employers, such as targeted recruiting outreach, internships for disabled employees, accessible application and interview processes, tailored on-boarding programs, disability awareness and etiquette training, and accommodating return to work programs.
Takeaway: Employers should be aware of the ongoing emphasis on hiring, retaining, and accommodating employees with disabilities. Individuals who believe their rights have been violated do not hesitate to pursue claims. In fact, in 2014 disability discrimination claims constituted almost 29% of all EEOC charges filed. Accordingly, employers should familiarize themselves with helpful resources, like this new guide, and seek legal counsel as appropriate.