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The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA for short, is designed to ensure individuals with physical or mental impairments have an equal chance in the workplace. Failing to offer a fair shot at employment to the deaf, blind, wheelchair-bound, or other disabled persons could lead to a lawsuit against your business. While your employment practices liability insurance may help cover the costs of the legal proceedings, applying the following procedures could help you avoid such a situation:
• You should consider offering your application in large print and Braille, as well as give the option for candidates to have the application read to them.
• Any tests that are required for employment should be offered in a handicap accessible area.
• You should be willing to modify the hours and tasks according to an individual’s need. For example, a deaf employee may be unable to create a transcription of an audio file, but he or she could still serve as a proofreader.
• Have you considered the front of your building from a disabled individual’s point of view? Make sure no bushes, signs or other obstacles block walkways.
It may help to have an open dialog with your workers with disabilities – employees who feel comfortable enough to come to you with their problems may be less likely to file a lawsuit when they feel like their needs are not being met.
Even if you do implement inclusive procedures employment practices liability insurance should still be considered. There are a range of incidents that can lead to employment related law suits and not all incidents are within your control.*