Myth #1: It is expensive to hire a person with disabilities.
- A disability can be a benefit to your workplace.
- The government offers a tax credit to help cover the cost of accommodations.
- If an accommodation will be too costly or difficult, you can explore other options, as well as give the employee the opportunity to provide or pay for a portion of the necessary accommodation.
- The IRS offers tax benefits and employer incentives to businesses that have employees with disabilities.
- The cost of the average accommodation is less than $500, with businesses getting an average return of $28.69 for every dollar put into providing an accommodation.
- Awareness is key, as it is often wrongly assumed that a disability equates to poor health and lost production due to time off work.
Myth #2: A person with a disability can’t work as efficiently as a person without a disability.
- Having a disability doesn’t mean a person lacks abilities that others have. Keep an unbiased attitude, and recognize an employee’s unique skill set and talents before focusing on their physical challenges.
- By taking the time to look, you may realize that disabled people have their own specific benefits. For example, those with disabilities are often great problem solvers due to the challenges they face every day, and have developed defined skills in other areas in which they aren’t limited, providing a unique perspective on how to achieve business success.
- While studies comparing the efficiency of disabled workers to nondisabled workers are few and far between, stats from the U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation found that 91 percent of disabled workers were rated “average” or “better than average,” with a similar study finding that 72 percent of employers would give the same rating.
- Inefficiency is one of the many myths associated with disabled persons, especially when it comes to fast-paced jobs. The ability to use a wheelchair or other mobility device is totally separate from the ability to work quickly and efficiently.
Myth #3: If an employer hires a person with a disability, they can never fire them.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers can fire disabled employees if any of the three following conditions apply: the termination isn’t related to the disability, the employee doesn’t meet the requirements of the job, or the employee’s disability creates a threat to the health and safety of the work environment.
- While there are discrimination laws in place, this doesn’t mean you can’t fire or lay off a disabled employee – it simply means your reasoning for doing so must be nondiscriminatory.
- Should it become clear that you need to terminate an employee, make sure you have documentation of any performance appraisals and warnings. Make sure you have a clear basis for termination before moving forward, and that all alternatives have been taken into consideration.
- Remember, a disabled employee is like any other employee, and they are subject to the same rules and expectations as everyone else.