An inclusive workplace is one where all employees have equal access to opportunities and resources. It’s a place where all employees – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, language or disability – are seen and heard by those around them. It’s an environment without physical, social and cultural barriers.
A company can make its workplace more inclusive by adjusting negative attitudes and perceptions about recruiting persons with disabilities, and by providing them with the necessary tools to succeed. This may sometimes mean providing them with reasonable accommodations, if needed.
Sometimes a person with a disability may require an adaptation, support, or tool to be able carry out a job effectively, or take part in education or training.This adaptation or support when provided by an employer or a training institution is referred to as reasonable accommodation. This might include physical adaptations, changes to a job application process, modification of work schedules, or providing or modifying equipment.
Most people with disabilities do not require any accommodations and for those who do it is minimal or much simpler than employers believe. The need for reasonable accommodation always depends on the individual, the nature of their impairment, and the requirements of the training, job or other activity. Therefore, it is important to ask the person about their particular accommodation requirements and not make assumptions about what they need or do not need.
Examples of reasonable accommodation
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a service by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. It provides guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. It is highly recommended for accommodation issues.
Accessibility is the concept according to which environments, processes, goods, products and services, as well as objects or instruments, tools and devices, including ICT and systems, should be understandable and usable by all people in the safest, most convenient and natural possible way.As a concept originally developed from the needs of people with disabilities, it in fact benefits everyone.
One way of achieving accessibility for all is through universal design. It refers to a set of intuitive and logical principles that guides the design of products, environments, programmes and services making them more equitable, flexible and simple to use. By being usable by everyone, it reduces the need for individual adjustments.
Accessibility of the built environment: examples for your company’s interior facilities include flat entrances and wide doors; handles for doors and drawers that do not require gripping or twisting to use; electrical outlets at waist level, eliminating the need to bend or kneel; storage spaces within reach of both short and tall people; pathways and hallways free of obstacles, steps or gaps; etc.
Information accessibility means ensuring that people with disabilities have access to information and communications on an equal basis with others.
Examples of accessible information and communication include providing information and communication materials in alternative formats. This means producing formats that are accessible for people with different types of disability by using simple and easy-to-read language, Braille, large font sizes, audio tapes or CDs, or electronic files that are readable by screen readers, for example. Moreover, formatting, quality of paper, images and text need to be considered. It is important to note that although not all persons with visual impairments can read Braille, it is often the only format that some people, such as those who are deaf blind, can use to access certain types of information.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a set of web accessibility standards, including accessibility of web software. One of the organizations’ primary goals is to make the web available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.
The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (g3ict) is an advocacy initiative to promote accessible ICTs. Among some of its initiatives is an e-Accessibility Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities
Hiring workers with disabilities can positively impact a company’s bottom line, because:
Human resources policies of companies often recognize the importance of recruiting and maintaining a diverse staff, including employees with disabilities. When advertising a new position, include a statement that applications from people with disabilities are welcome and ensure that your e-recruitment platforms are accessible for people with disabilities. Interviews should be conducted in an accessible location and the information provided should also be in accessible formats. Reasonable accommodation should be provided if requested by the disabled candidate. Companies should ask candidates if they will need any specific accommodation, and if so, provide them with the required accommodations. Disclosing a disability is a personal choice. Therefore, employers should ensure privacy and avoid asking candidates if they have a disability.