Accommodation for workers with disabilities. “Sometimes it can be overwhelming,” concedes the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). But a good job description is a “constructive tool” for focusing on reasonable accommodations.
JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. JAN offers the following accommodation scenarios to show how to match job description requirements with disability limitations.
Scenario 1: Diabetic Programmer
An applicant is interviewing for a Computer Programmer position. Although disclosure wasn’t required, because of questions about a particular job requirement for which she may need an accommodation, the applicant tells the employer she has diabetes.
Job task from job description: “Responsibilities occasionally may require an adjusted
work schedule, overtime, and evening/weekend hours in order to meet deadlines or to access the computer to perform program tests.”
Limitation revealed by applicant: Needs to eat at specific time each day. May need to test blood sugar and take insulin while at work. Prospective employee is happy to work an adjusted schedule or extra hours provided that she can take the steps necessary to regulate her diabetes.
Accommodation solution: Employer accommodates the employee by allowing her to adjust her lunch hour to 11 a.m.-12 p.m. rather than the typical 12-1 p.m. and permits flexible break times. The employee is also allowed to bring a small refrigerator to store food and medication in her office. When working evening hours, the employee may set her own dinner breaks as needed to cope with her diabetic needs.
Learn everything you need to know about accommodating a worker with diabetes by joining us for an in-depth webinar on May 25.
Scenario 2: Food Service Worker with MS
The new Food Service Manager is a person who has multiple sclerosis. She uses a cane for mobility assistance.
Job task from job description: “2% of time assists in production area during absence of primary kitchen staff.”
Limitation revealed by applicant: Employee has difficulty standing for long periods of time.
Accommodation solution: The employer and employee agree to use a sit/stand work stool and an anti-fatigue mat to accommodate rare occasions when she will need to assist in the kitchen.
Scenario 3: Sheet Metal Worker with a Speech Impairment
A sheet metal worker has a speech impairment. He stutters, and when he is nervous the condition becomes much worse.
Job task from job description: “Makes recommendations to supervisor about the need for different materials, equipment, and parts.”
Limitation revealed by applicant: Employee has difficulty with oral communication.
Accommodation solution: As needed, the employee makes recommendations in writing.
When discussion or clarification is necessary, employer and employee meet one-to-one in a quiet environment to eliminate noise and distraction and to alleviate the employee’s stress about speaking in group situations.
Diabetes in the Workplace: Your Legal Responsibilities and Practical Management Tips
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that approximately one million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year. Already, nearly 24 million Americans age 20 or older have the disease. These figures also show that approximately 57 million people in the United States have pre-diabetes; accordingly, you’re likely to see more employees with diabetes in the years to come.
This means you need to figure out both the practical impact of having diabetic employees in your workplace, as well as your legal responsibilities under laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — which was recently amended to expand protections for people with chronic conditions, including diabetes.
Join us on May 25, when our health and legal experts explain what you need to know to effectively manage workers with diabetes in compliance with the law.
You will learn:
- Basic facts about diabetes, including the latest advances in the management of the disease
- How diabetic workers are protected by the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Situations in which you may be tempted to inadvertently discriminate against a diabetic worker — and how to avoid these pitfalls
- Reasonable accommodations that may come into play for workers with diabetes
- What to do if you suspect a worker’s diabetes is creating a safety hazard for that person or others in the workplace
- Questions you must never ask during the hiring process — and what’s permissible to ask about
- When it’s OK to deny a diabetic worker a requested accommodation
- Privacy concerns to watch out for if you have workers with diabetes