October is: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

-Submitted by Leni Plimpton

October 12, 2018. Governor John Hickenlooper has issued a proclamation that declares October as “Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The proclamation urges employers to recognize that a culture of belonging that welcomes, supports, and celebrates the contributions of persons with disabilities will pay significant dividends in the workplace. As most employers are aware, employing disabled individuals is not only great for the workplace in that the disabled are skilled, independent, and productive workers, but also because it is illegal to discriminate against a person or applicant with a disability.  Think you know whether someone has a disability? Think again! Not all disabilities are visible.  Claims of discrimination based on mental health issues are on the rise: are you ready? 

Accommodating a disabled employee can range from extremely easy (providing a stool for someone with a knee injury) to very challenging (when your employee claims that their manager triggers the employee’s PTSD).

The ADA requires employers to engage in an “interactive process” with a qualified employee and to then provide a reasonable accommodation that allows the employee to engage in their essential job duties. The ADA is a nuanced law with many different elements, considerations, and standards. When you become aware of a disability or when a worker or applicant requests an accommodation, do you know how to handle it? 

This October, take some time and evaluate your company’s policy with regard to the ADA and hiring disabled workers. Don’t let a disability discrimination claim be your October surprise.

Fortis Law Partners has a team of skilled professionals who are experienced in advising companies who face disability discrimination issues, requests for accommodations, and creating optimal workplace policies.  If you would like more information on any employment issue your company is facing, do not hesitate to contact Chris Lamb or Leni Plimpton.

For more information about National Disability Employment Awareness Month can be found here.