When Hiring Think Outside The Box
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of disabled Americans say they want to work full time, but only about 21 percent actually do.
Employers can take advantage of various programs which encourage the recruitment and hiring of individuals with disabilities, including tax credits which can also help cover the cost of accommodating those employees. For example, a company who hires a disabled individual qualifies for $7,400 in annual tax credits, plus $15,000 in tax credits spent on improving access to the building.
Hiring individuals with disabilities is a great option for all businesses, particularly those who may be looking for innovative ways to meet budgetary constraints, yet still run an efficient, effective business.
One downside is that a small company may not have the resources necessary to meet the needs of an employee who has a disability, so make sure it's also a good decision for your business. And while this is an excellent way to expand your business, keep in mind that you will need to comply with certain legal requirements regarding the accommodation of employees with disabilities.
BBB offers the following "Do's and Don'ts" for businesses who wish to consider hiring someone with a disability:
Do ensure any employee requirements for medical examinations comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
Do ensure all staff is treated equally -- with dignity and respect.
Do have written job descriptions in place before hiring any employee.
Don't ask if a person has a disability during an employment interview.
Don't hire a person with a disability who is not qualified to perform the essential functions of the job, even with reasonable accommodations.
Don't assume a person with a disability can't do a job due to apparent and non-apparent disabilities.
Don't assume your workplace accommodations are accessible for disabled persons.
Don't assume you don't have any jobs that person with a disability can do.
The following are some questions to keep in mind when determining physical accessibility at the workplace:
Are there designated parking spaces for people with disabilities which are close to the entrance of the worksite?
Is there a pathway without abrupt level changes or steps that leads from the parking area to the entrance?
Are the doors wide enough (36 inches) for people using wheelchairs? Are they easy to open (e.g., not excessively heavy, with easily grasped handles, or automatic)?
Is the personnel office in an accessible location?
Are pathways to the bathroom, water fountain and public telephone accessible? Can people with disabilities use them?
Are elevators accessible to all people with disabilities (e.g., control panels lower than 54 inches from the floor, raised symbols or numbers on the control panels)?
Is all signage appropriate and accessible for people with visual, learning and cognitive disabilities (including the use of symbols and graphics)?
Does the emergency warning system include both audible and visual alarms?
For more information on the ADA, please contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at www.eeoc.gov
or 1-800-669-4000 (TDD 1-800-669-6820).
For more business tips go to www.bbb.org
.To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.