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Best Practices for Hiring and Retaining Wounded Warriors and Caregivers presented by Paralyzed Veterans of America. Disability Employment Experts. Susan Prokop Associate Advocacy Director Paralyzed Veterans of America. David Galbo Associate Director of Architecture

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Best Practices for Hiring and Retaining Wounded Warriors and Caregiverspresented byParalyzed Veterans of America

disability employment experts
Disability Employment Experts

Susan Prokop

Associate Advocacy Director

Paralyzed Veterans of America

David Galbo

Associate Director of Architecture

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Shelly Edwards

Associate Director Operation PAVE

Paralyzed Veterans of America

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Disability Awareness

Veterans & Disability: The Numbers

56Million Disabled Americans

22 Million US Veterans

3.2 Million Disabled US Veterans

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Disability Awareness

Unemployment & Labor Force Participation Rates for Gulf War era II Veterans

Non-Disabled Veterans

Disabled Veterans

Source: Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation of Veterans Summary. Released March 20, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/vet.nr0.htm

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Disability Awareness

Caregivers – Unique Issues and Challenges

9% of U.S. adults are caregivers

  • 16.9 M civilian caregivers
  • 4.4 M pre-9/11 military caregivers
  • 1.1 M post-9/11 military caregivers
  • Caregivers are often “invisible” in the workplace
  • Caregivers must strategize around the critical and unpredictable needs of their loved ones

Source: National survey of caregivers of adults in the U.S. with findings presented in Ramchand R, Tanielian T. et al., Hidden Heroes: America’s Military Caregivers. RAND Corporation, 2013 (available at www.rand.org/military-caregivers)

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Win-Win Scenarios

Disability Compliance Is The Law - But Also An Asset

  • Military veterans and military caregivers come from a culture that intensely values loyalty… turn that quality in an asset for your firm-and increase workforce retention
  • Accessibility, accommodation and flexibility are desirable employer traits for ALL prospective employees – not just those with disabilities
  • Demonstrating your corporate commitment to making a difference in the lives of veterans with disabilities and their caregivers is good for business
ada in general

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Basics

Title I :Employment

Title II : State and Local Government Services and Public Transportation

Title III :Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities

Title IV : Telecommunications

Title V : Retaliation, Technical Assistance, and Miscellaneous Provisions

ADA In General

The ADA has 5 different Sections called “Titles”

We are focused on Title I: Employment

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits covered entities from discriminating against covered individuals in all covered employment practices

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requirements incentives
Requirements & Incentives

Special Hiring Authorities and Tax Benefits

  • For Federal Contractors
    • Section 503- recruitment &hiring people with disabilities
    • VEVRAA- Recruitment & Hiring Veterans [including veterans with disabilities]
    • OFCCP Resources
  • For Federal Agencies
    • Section 501 Recruiting & Hiring Obligations
    • Schedule A Hiring Authority
  • Business Deductions
    • Disabled Access Credit
    • Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction
    • Work Opportunity Tax Credit
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Reasonable Accommodations

The Basics

Reasonable Accommodations fall into 3 categories

  • Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified individual with a disability to be considered for the position
  • Modifications or adjustments to the work environmentor circumstances under which the position held that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position
  • Modifications or adjustments that enable a covered individual to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of a covered entity’s similarly situated employees without disabilities

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Reasonable Accommodations

Employer Responsibilities

An employer is required to provide Reasonable Accommodations to individuals with known disabilities. Individuals can identify their disabilities through:

  • Pre-employment self-identification: This applies to Federal contractors and subcontractors covered by the Affirmative Action Requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973and the VEVRAA
  • Post-employment requests:This occurs when an employee with a disability makes a request for an accommodation after they have been hired.
  • Exceptions exist: Undue hardship and accommodations that would drastically change the nature of a job are both examples of lawful limitations to providing accommodations

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Community Resources

A number of resources are available to help employers understand how to provide Reasonable Accommodations

  • Job Accommodation Network: www.askjan.org
  • Centers for Independent Living: www.ncil.org
  • Protection & Advocacy Programs for people with disabilities
  • Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) and ADA Centers

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federal programs
Federal Programs

A number of federal programs are designed to help you hire and retain employees with disabilities

  • Existing Programs
    • Lifespan Respite Programs
    • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    • Veterans Employment Opportunity Act
  • Proposed Legislation
    • Social Security Caregiver Act
    • Military & Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act
    • Work Opportunity Tax Credit Extension
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What is Accessible?

Accessible Means…

  • Able to be reached or approached
  • Able to be used or obtained
  • Easy to appreciate or understand
  • “Accessibility is not just about providing access for people with disabilities,

It’s about providing access to people with disabilities.”

-Noelle Richardson, Chief Diversity OfficerMinistry of the Attorney General, Ontario, Canada

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Workplace Accessibility

Accessible Buildings & Facilities

  • Required Since

1980 in State and Local Building Codes

1992 by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  • Public & Commercial Facilities

Offices, Health Care Centers, Schools, Hospitality, Food Service, Retail Stores

  • Accessible Buildings & Facilities Include

Parking Lots, Sidewalks, Entrances, Stairs &Elevators, Doorways, Restrooms, Rooms & Spaces, Communication Elements, etc.

  • Workplace Accommodations Include

Offices & Shared Workspaces, Conference Rooms, Stairs & Elevators, Restrooms, Break Rooms, Cafeterias

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Benefits of Accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations Allow Employees to

Be More Productive

  • Accommodations May Include
    • Accessible Building Features
    • Adaptations
    • Help or Assistance
    • Assistive Technology
  • Best Practices
    • Use a team approach that includes elements of:
    • Human Resource
    • Information Technology
    • Facilities and Operations-
    • Management
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Corporate Benefits

Ways Employers Benefit from Accommodations

  • Job Accommodations Network (JAN), US Dept. of Labor Study

Low Cost- High Impact, employers in the study reported that a high percentage (58%) of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500

  • Further Findings
    • 90% Retained a Valued Employee
    • 71% Increased Employee’s Productivity
    • 61% Saved Cost of Training New Employee
    • 64% Improved Co-worker Interactions
    • 30% Increased Profitability
    • 17% Increased Customer Base
  • For each $1 spent on accommodations, employers save $10 in benefits

Source: Sept. 2013 Job Accommodation Network Study ‘Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact’ by Dr. Beth Loy

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Common Misperceptions

Myths

Facts

Most disabled veterans of working age (18 to 65) are employed—but their labor force participation rate is lower than that of their nondisabled counterparts.

  • Majority of disabled Post 9/11 Veterans don’t work
  • You can see all disabilities
  • Veterans are less educated than non-Veterans

Invisible wounds (i.e., PTSD, TBI) are increasingly more common

On average, veterans are more educated than the civilian workforce, and also bring unique training, experience and skills from their military careers

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Interviewing Veterans

Making the Most of the Interview Process

  • Interview a veteran (and a caregiver) like you would a civilian candidate – ask about their experiences and achievements that matter most to the specific position
  • Don’t ask questions about a veteran’s type of discharge, current military status or potential disabilities
  • Describe the veteran (and caregiver) friendly policies and programs in your company (i.e., veteran affinity groups, veteran mentors, flexible work arrangements, access to referrals and resources, etc.)
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Seeking Win-Win Scenarios

Disability Compliance Is The Law - But Also An Asset

  • Military veterans and military caregivers come from a culture that intensely values loyalty… turn that quality in an asset for your firm-and increase workforce retention
  • Accessibility, accommodation and flexibility are desirable employer traits for ALL prospective employees – not just those with disabilities
  • Demonstrating your corporate commitment to making a difference in the lives of veterans with disabilities and their caregivers is good for business
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Questions?

Susan Prokop

Associate Advocacy Director

susanp@pva.org

202.416.7707

David Galbo

Associate Director of Architecture

davidg@pva.org

202.416.7725

Shelly Edwards

Associate Director Operation PAVE

shellye@pva.org

202.416.7686

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Americans with Disabilities Act

Title I Covered Entities

Employers: An organization with 15+ paid employees for each working day in 20+ calendar weeks in a calendar year

Employment Agencies: A company which matched the needs of an employer to a worker having the required skill set

Labor Organizations:An organization with 15+ members existing for the purpose of dealing with employers concerning terms and conditions of employment

Joint Labor-Management Committees: An entity that controls apprenticeship or other training or retraining programs, including on-the-job training programs.

Covered entities are groups that must comply with the law, and include the following:

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Americans with Disabilities Act

Covered Individuals

Covered individuals are qualified individuals with disabilities and include the following:

  • A person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities: Epilepsy, paralysis, HIV infection, AIDS, a substantial hearing/visual impairment, mental retardation, specific learning disabilities, etc.
  • A person who has a record of such an impairment: Individuals who have recovered from cancer or a mental illness
  • A person who is regarded as having such an impairment: Individuals with severe physical disfigurements
  • Persons with a known association with an individual with a disability: A person who has a spouse or family member with a disability, or a person who interacts with disabled persons through volunteer/charity work

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Americans with Disabilities Act

Covered Employment Practices

Discrimination is prohibited in all covered practices and activities which includes the following:

All terms, conditions, and privileges of employment:

All employment-related activities:

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Americans with Disabilities Act

Limitations of Drug/Alcohol Use

Are individuals who currently use illegal drugs covered by the ADA?

  • No.Individuals who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs are specifically excluded from the definition of a "qualified individual with a disability" protected by the ADA

Is it legal to test individuals for the illegal drug use under the ADA?

  • Yes.A test for the illegal use of drugs is not considered a medical examination under the ADA, so employers may conduct drug tests and make employment decisions based on the results

Are alcoholics covered by the ADA?

  • Yes.An alcoholic is protected by the ADA if they are qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. However, an employer can discipline or deny employment to an alcoholic whose use of alcohol adversely affects job performance or conduct

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Americans with Disabilities Act

Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination occurs when an ADA covered entity treats an ADA covered individual unfavorably because of said individual’s disability.

Disability discrimination can occur in the following situations:

  • Across all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment
  • Across all employment related activities
  • Through harassment so frequent/severe that it creates a hostile work environment or results in an adverse employment decision
  • If an employer fails to provide Reasonable Accommodation to an individual

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Accommodation Process

Process Overview

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Accommodation Process

Process Overview

Points to Remember

  • Reasonable Accommodations must be based on the particular facts of each case
  • In each case, they employer must aim to provide the opportunity for individuals both with and without disabilities to achieve equal levels of performance
  • An individual with a disability may request a Reasonable Accommodation at any time during the application process or during the period of employment.
  • To request accommodation, an individual may use "plain English" and need not mention the ADA or the phrase “Reasonable Accommodation”

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Accommodation Process

Process Overview

Points to Remember

  • The employer may ask the individual relevant questions that will enable the employer to make an informed decision about the request
  • The employer and the individual should engage in an interactive process as quickly as possibleonce the employee requests a Reasonable Accommodation

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Accommodation Process

Process Overview

Points to Remember

  • The disability and/or the type of accommodation required may be obvious, and thus there may be little or no need to engage in any discussion
  • The disability and/or the need for accommodation may not be obvious, so the employer may need to ask questions concerning the nature of the disability
  • The employer may ask the individual for reasonable documentation about his/her disability and functional limitations
  • All medical information collected must remain confidential during this process, regardless of where the information comes from

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Accommodation Process

Process Overview

Points to Remember

  • The individual may suggest the employer provides specific types of Reasonable Accommodations
  • The employer may offer alternative suggestions for Reasonable Accommodations if certain ones would incur undue hardships
  • If there are two possible reasonable accommodations and one is more burdensome than the other, the employer may choose the less burdensome as long as it is effective
  • If there are two or more effective accommodations, the employer may choose the one that is easier to provide

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Accommodation Process

Process Overview

Points to Remember

  • An employer should respond expeditiously to a request for Reasonable Accommodation
  • The employer should act promptly to provide the Reasonable Accommodation
  • Unnecessary delays can result in a violation of the ADA
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Accommodation Process

Important Points to Remember

May someone other than the individual with a disability request a Reasonable Accommodation on behalf of the individual?

  • Yes.A family member, friend, health professional, or other representative may request a Reasonable Accommodation on behalf of an individual with a disability

Do requests for Reasonable Accommodation need to be in writing?

  • No. Individuals may request accommodations in conversation or may use any other mode of communication

May an employer ask an individual for documentation when the individual requests Reasonable Accommodation?

  • Yes.The employer is entitled to know that the individual has a covered disability and may ask the individual for documentation if the disability is not obvious

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Accommodation Process

Important Points to Remember

Rules and their enforcement must meet the following criteria:

  • Evenly Applied
  • Consistently Apply Consistent Standards
  • Job-related
  • Consistent with business necessity
  • Non-Discriminatory

However, employers do not have to reduce quantity or quality expectations as a result of Reasonable Accommodations:

  • Forgiving past misconduct is generally not a Reasonable Accommodation for unknown disabilities
  • Tolerating abusive or violent behaviors is not required
  • Employers should examine whether Reasonable Accommodations will aid compliance in the future

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Accommodation Process

Important Points to Remember

Final tips for employers who are hiring individuals under the ADA:

  • Avoid harassment and reverse discrimination: Coworker or supervisor resentment toward accommodated workers is not uncommon
  • Avoid retaliation: Do not place someone under a microscope after they disclose a disability.
  • Reassess pre-employment tests: Are they related directly to the to the essential functions of a job?
  • Eliminate rigid leave policies: Remember to treat all requests on a case-by-case basis
  • Review centralized decision-making processes: Take personality conflicts out of the accommodation process
  • Be creative and flexible: Engage the individual throughout the accommodation process

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Accommodation Process

The Benefits

By providing Reasonable Accommodations, employers will realize the following quantitative benefits:

  • 58% of Reasonable Accommodations have no associated cost, and 36% have a one-time associated cost averaging $500
  • 76% of individuals with disabilities claim Reasonable Accommodations are “very effective” or “extremely effective”
  • For each $1 spent on accommodations, employees save $10 in benefits

By providing Reasonable Accommodations, employers will realize the following interpersonal benefits:

  • Increased employee and company productivity
  • Improved interactions between employee and coworkers
  • Increased company morale

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Example Accommodations

  • Reduce distractions in the work area
  • Provide space enclosures or a private office
  • Allow for use of white noise or environmental sound machines
  • Allow the employee to play soothing music using a cassette player and headset
  • Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting
  • Reduce clutter in the employee’s work environment
  • Plan for uninterrupted work time
  • Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and steps
  • Restructure job to include only essential functions
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Example Accommodations

  • Make daily TO-DO lists and check items off as they are completed
  • Use several calendars to mark meetings and deadlines
  • Remind employee of important deadlines via memos or e-mail or weekly supervision
  • Use a watch or pager with timer capability
  • Use electronic organizers
  • Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and steps
  • Assign a mentor to assist employee in determining goals and provide daily guidance
  • Schedule weekly meetings with supervisor, manager, or mentor to determine if goals are being met
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Example Accommodations

  • Allow the employee to tape record meetings
  • Provide type written minutes of each meeting
  • Use notebooks, calendars, or sticky notes to record information for easy retrieval
  • Provide written as well as verbal instructions
  • Allow additional training time
  • Provide written checklists and use color-coding to help identify items
  • Post instructions close to frequently used equipment
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Example Accommodations

  • Permit flexible scheduling, teleworking, allow longer or more frequent work breaks, tele-health appointments
  • Provide additional time to learn new responsibilities
  • Provide self-paced workload
  • Provide backup coverage for when the employee needs to take breaks
  • Allow for time off for counseling
  • Allow for use of supportive employment and job coaches
  • Allow employee to work from home during part of the day
  • Provide for job sharing opportunities
  • Allow part-time work schedules