How to Prevent Disability Discrimination in Your Workplace?
Disability discrimination and other related issues are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. As an employer, you are prohibited from discriminating against a disabled employee in all issues. For example, disabled employees cannot be refused a position at their company, purely because of their disability if they are otherwise able to perform the job that you’re hiring for.
In a diverse workplace, it is important that your workplace have a strong and watertight policy dealing with disability discrimination and ways to deal with it. Very often, discriminating behavior overlaps harassment. Employees making offensive or crude jokes about a disabled employee or disability in general can be considered discrimination.
Asking publicly about the person’s disability could also qualify as discrimination. There are exceptions, of course. For instance, if you are inquiring only to understand what kind of accommodations the employee may require, it may not qualify. You cannot limit the promotional opportunities that are available to an employee based on his disability, if he’s otherwise qualified to receive promotions. Make sure that your managers and supervisors are trained to recognize what constitutes discrimination based on disability.
Have an anti-disability discrimination policy in the workplace, and include it in your employment manual. Make sure that all the policies are drafted according to the standards that are laid down by the Americans with Disability Act. Ideally, you should have your employee handbook drafted by an attorney or at least have an attorney go through it, to make sure that all your policies are in accordance with federal discrimination and harassment laws.
It is not enough to have policies in place. It is also important to make sure that these policies are enforced. Lay down penalties for violations of antidiscrimination policies in your workplace. Make sure that there are appropriate channels in place, so that employees can file a complaint about harassment as soon as it occurs. Follow up on these complaints, and make sure that all complaints are investigated thoroughly. Take all complaints very seriously. A disgruntled disabled employee is very likely to go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a lawsuit against your company.