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Do Ask, Do Tell: Encouraging Employees with Disabilities to Self-identify

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Since passage of the ADA access to public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications has improved. For example, it’s easier to go to restaurants, retail and grocery stores, use phones, technology, and public transit.

At the same time, despite passage of the ADA, workplace disability inclusion has lagged behind. Recent changes to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, are intended to increase workplace disability inclusion. These changes put in place hiring goals and voluntary self-identification of disability to measure disability inclusion.

A comprehensive Conference Board study surveyed 98 companies to identify what they are doing well to create a disability inclusive workplace and foster an environment that encourages voluntary self-identification of disability. Here are a few key recommendations of the Conference Board Study:

  • Share stories of successful employees with disabilities
  • Foster a strong employee resource group/business network on disabilities
  • Capitalize on the emergence of aging workforce issues and disability issues. (Disability increases with age.)
  • Help managers, supervisors and employees without disabilities become “disability confident”
  • Set up a voluntary self-identification program for employees and applicants with disabilities. Communicate the benefits and how the information will be used.

The full study is an excellent resource full of practical information. [[{"fid":"856","view_mode":"default","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"},"fields":{"format":"default"},"link_text":"Read the Conference Board Study","type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default"}}}]].