Reasonable Accommodation Practices
Toward a great understanding of the willingness to request an accommodation: Can requesters' beliefs disable the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Baldridge, D. C., & Viega, J. F. (2001). "Toward a great understanding of the willingness to request an accommodation: Can requesters' beliefs disable the Americans with Disabilities Act?" Academy of Management Review, 26(1): 85-99.
Although the Americans with Disabilities Act requires most employers to provide reasonable accommodation, there is reason to believe that people with disabilities are often unwilling to make such requests. The authors therefore focus on factors influencing the requester's likelihood of seeking an accommodation. By drawing upon the theories of planned behavior, help-seeking, and distributive justice, the authors propose a framework identifying several salient beliefs that may influence request likelihood and then explore the role of select situational characteristics in shaping these beliefs as a way to more fully understand the requester's assessment process.
The everyday ADA: The influence of requesters' assessments on decisions to ask for needed accommodation
Baldridge, D. C. (2002). "The everyday ADA: The influence of requesters' assessments on decisions to ask for needed accommodation." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 62(8-A): 2807.
The Americans with Disabilities Act grants the right to workplace accommodations. While accommodations are often essential to assure equal employment opportunities, there is evidence that people with disabilities often withhold requests for needed accommodations. This dissertation examines the information processing that precedes requesters' decisions to make, or withhold, requests. Specifically, I examine the influence of accommodation attributes and requesters' assessments of the personal consequences of asking for accommodation on requesters' decisions. First, in-depth interviews with a small group of people who are deaf and people who are hard-of-hearing were used to gain an understanding of the phenomena and combined with extant accommodation, help seeking and planned behavior theory to develop a model and hypotheses. Second, data from 238 surveys was analyzed using logistic regression analysis to test the hypotheses. Third, follow-up interviews were conducted to further illuminate findings. Accommodation attributes were hypothesized to both influence requesters' decisions directly and indirectly through their influence on requesters' assessments. Based on the initial interviews, and the help seeking and accommodation literatures, three specific assessments were hypothesized to be of particular importance: compliance, personal cost and normative appropriateness. As hypothesized, compliance-a requester's assessment regarding the likelihood of compliance with accommodation requests, and normative appropriateness-requester's assessment of what others think they should do-were both highly significant predictors. However, personal cost-concerns regarding inequity, indebtedness, loss of freedom/restrictions and damage to one's public image-was not significant. Based on the initial interviews, and the help seeking and accommodation literatures, three specific accommodation attributes were hypothesized to influence requesters' decisions: effectiveness, monetary cost and ease of use. As hypothesized, effectiveness was a strong predictor of decisions. In addition to directly influencing requesters' decisions, effectiveness also influenced requesters' compliance and normative appropriateness assessments. Contrary to expectations monetary cost and ease of use were not significant predictors of decisions. However, while these variables did not have a direct influence, both were significant predictors of requesters' assessments, and thus, had an important indirect influence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Predictors of workplace accommodations for employees with mobility-related disabilities
Balser, D. B. (2007). "Predictors of workplace accommodations for employees with mobility-related disabilities." Administration and Society, 39, 656-683.
Our understanding of reasonable accommodations in the workplace is incomplete. Frequently, research on disability either neglects issues of accommodation or examines the receipt of any accommodation, without specifying type. However, people with disabilities need specific accommodations, not any accommodation. This article uses comprehensive models to test the predictors of four types of accommodations received by employees with mobility-related disabilities. Overall, the results show that different factors predicted receipt of different types of accommodations. Furthermore, factors that facilitate or constrain an employer’s capacity to make particular accommodations were more powerful predictors than an individual’s need for accommodation or socioeconomic status.
Implementing reasonable accommodations using ADR under the ADA: The case of a white-collar employee with bipolar mental illness
Blanck, P. D., Andersen, J. H., Wallach, E. J., & Tenney, J. P. (1994). "Implementing reasonable accommodations using ADR under the ADA: The case of a white-collar employee with bipolar mental illness." Mental & Physical Disability Law Reporter, 18(4): 458-464.
Presents the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the case of a senior account executive in a communications system company who developed bipolar mental illness. After 3 weeks of hospitalization, he returned to work. The actions of the company to provide reasonable accommodations for his disability are described. A consultant familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helped the employee and his supervisor develop an accommodation plan which included a flexible work schedule. A co-worker was also assigned to travel with the employee during extended national sales campaigns. The company was saved the cost of training a replacement, and the cost of the ADA and medical consultants was far less than the costs of a lawsuit filed under the ADA. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)
The correlates of accommodations for permanently disabled workers
Campolieti, M. (2004). "The correlates of accommodations for permanently disabled workers." Industrial Relations, 43(3): 546-72.
This article examines the determinants of the job accommodations made by employers using data from the Survey of Ontario Workers with Permanent Impairments. I use a censored bivariate probit model, which allows for the selection of return-to-work decisions to obtain my estimates. The most important findings of this article suggest that workers who received vocational training prior to their accident and returned to work with the time-of-accident employer are more likely to receive an accommodation.
Employment, wage, and accommodation patterns of permanently impaired workers
Cater, B. I. (2000). "Employment, wage, and accommodation patterns of permanently impaired workers." Journal of Labor Economics, 18(1): 74-97.
This article offers an explanation of the post-injury employment, wage, and accommodation patterns of permanently impaired workers. In particular, it argues that the observed tendency of time-of-accident employers to rehire at the pre-injury wage, accommodate, and then, perhaps, quickly terminate the impaired worker, is a manifestation of the worker's preferred contract. That contract is characterized by wage inflexibility. By removing the opportunity for the post-injury employer to underreport productivity, this contract creates an incentive for the worker to attempt to functionally adapt to the impairment, thereby increasing expected lifetime utility.
Accommodation in the workplace
Cleveland, J. N., Barnes-Farrell, J. L., & Ratz, J. M. (1997). "Accommodation in the workplace." Human Resource Management Review, 7(1): 77-107.
With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are now required to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. Although the practice of accommodating applicants or employees is not new, accommodation for disabled individuals has shifted the thinking about accommodation and our perceptions and reactions to such practices. In this article, four major factors that contribute to workplace reactions to accommodation are discussed: (1) rationale for the accommodation, (2) the nature of the accommodation, (3) whether the accommodation is organization, employee or jointly initiated, and (4) the characteristics of the target or person being accommodated. A general framework is presented depicting how these variables combine to influence workplace reactions to accommodation. Research from managerial, social psychological and rehabilitation literatures is reviewed and integrated. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Responses to informal accommodation requests from employees with disabilities: Multistudy evidence on willingness to comply
Florey, A. T., & Harrison, D. A. (2000). "Responses to informal accommodation requests from employees with disabilities: Multistudy evidence on willingness to comply." Academy of Management Journal, 43(2): 224-233.
The authors developed and tested hypotheses describing the psychological process invoked when managers receive requests for accommodations from employees with disabilities. In two scenario-based experiments, obligation and attitude had consistent effects on managers' intentions to comply, mediating the influence of performance instrumentality and perceived fairness. Psychological reactions were affected by the controllability of a disability's onset, the employee's past performance, and the size of the requested accommodation.
Barriers to the accommodation request process of the Americans with disabilities act
Frank, J. J., & Bellini, J. (2005). "Barriers to the accommodation request process of the Americans with disabilities act." Journal of Rehabilitation, 71(2): 28-39.
The accommodation request process of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was explored using a qualitative interview approach with 20 informants who are blind. Five themes emerged pertaining to the barriers to requesting accommodation experienced by the informants: Broken Trust and Betrayal, Multiplicity of Barriers, Fear of Retaliation, Problems with Technology, and the Concept of Print. Two additional themes, Habit and Successful Means of Acquiring Accommodation, pertained to strategies informants used to by-pass the ADA process in order to accomplish their goals. Negative responses to accommodation requests inhibit further requests as people with disabilities attempt to accomplish their goals using more effective means. If this continues, the promise of the ADA to create a society where discrimination does not continue to limit opportunities for persons with disabilities will be unfulfilled.
Accommodation issues in the work place for people with disabilities: A needs assessment in an educational setting
Friedman, S. (1993). "Accommodation issues in the work place for people with disabilities: A needs assessment in an educational setting." Disability, Handicap & Society, 8(1): 3-23.
The passage in the USA of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has mandated the private sector to provide a sweeping variety of accommodations to individuals with disabilities. Objections to ADA focused on costs in an era of scarcity. These assumptions have been presented with insufficient information about the actual needs of individuals with disabilities. This study is a needs assessment of employees with disabilities at a major university setting. In-depth interviews were conducted with a small number of individuals who described their work situations and accommodations. Findings challenge prevailing assumptions. Costs are often not large, many accommodations are simple, and much depends on the match between a person's disability and job duties. Additionally, informational need, psychological concerns, and the existing social climate provide a more balanced picture of the lives of these employees.
Workplace accommodation as a social process
Gates, L. B. (2000). "Workplace accommodation as a social process." Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 10(1): 85-98.
Successful sustained employment for people with disabilities is a function of a complex array of factors. Key among these factors is appropriate accommodation at the workplace. Current approaches to accommodation, however, are often unsuccessful. Research suggests that this is due, in part, to the limited view of accommodation as technical changes to the job. An approach to accommodation that does not take into account the social context ignores the consequences of the process on work group morale and individual self-esteem and well-being. This has repercussions for individual job performance, job satisfaction and work retention, as well as overall work group productivity. An intervention was designed to take into account the social nature of the accommodation process and pilot tested with 12 workers who were out on a short term disability leave with a psychiatric diagnosis and their work groups. Based on a psychoeducational model, the intervention educates the work group about what it means to work with a disability, provides a safe environment where the worker with disability and coworkers can share concerns about the impact of accommodation on the group, informs about the accommodation process and specifies strategies to help the worker with disability best meet job requirements. Key intervention components include 1) the development of a disclosure plan since workplace intervention cannot occur without disclosure, 2) a systematic method for identifying the work group members, 3) a formal psychoeducation training that includes the supervisor, identified work group members, and the individual in the work organization who has the authority to approve accommodations, and 4) on-going follow up support to the supervisor and worker with disability. Although generalizability of the findings is limited because of the small sample size and its application only to those with mental health conditions, they support the importance of this approach to employment outcomes for people with disabilities. First, findings suggest that the rehabilitation process cannot stop at placement. Providers must be willing and able to enter the workplace with their clients. This requires providers to take on new roles such as educators, interpreters, negotiators and trainers. Disclosure must lose its status as a taboo topic. Providers and workers with disabilities must come to understand the risks and benefits of disclosure, and, when the decision is made to disclose, must have a formal, structured plan for carrying it out. Finally, workplace intervention must take into account the social context and provide the opportunity for communication and interaction in order to insure the success of the accommodations
Supervisor's role in successful job maintenance: A target for rehabilitation counselor efforts
Gates, L. B., Akabas, S. H., & Kantrowitz, W. (1996). "Supervisor's role in successful job maintenance: A target for rehabilitation counselor efforts." Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 27(3): 60-66.
Explores the role of supervisors with regard to disabled workers and the implications of this role for the work of rehabilitation counselors. A comprehensive disability management effort at 1 worksite was studied in-depth. Surveys were completed by 25 workers with physical or neurological disabilities and by their supervisors about the functional limitations caused by the disabling conditions and responsiveness of the supervisors. Results show that successful readjustment to work was affected by the ability of supervisors to (1) make accurate assessments of when conditions interfered with job performance, (2) identify problems caused by disabling conditions, (3) develop appropriate accommodations, (4) monitor accommodation effectiveness, and (5) facilitate communication between workers with disabilities and their co-workers. Ways in which rehabilitation counselors can help are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Relationship accommodations involving the work group: Improving work prognosis for persons with mental health conditions
Gates, L. B., Akabas, S. H., & Oran-Sabia, V. (1998). "Relationship accommodations involving the work group: Improving work prognosis for persons with mental health conditions." Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 21(3): 264-272.
This paper presents a workplace mapping technique that identifies work group members who should be targeted as part of an accommodation intervention strategy and describes its use with workers with mental health conditions, a group for whom relationship issues are often present in the work adjustment process. The technique was tested with 25 workers with a psychiatric disability. Results show that it is an important companion to the intake interview. It helps to focus on the workplace and clarifies a strategy for intervention by adding specificity about who offers the supports and which behaviors may serve as barriers that need to change. Case examples are provided and implications for successful employment discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
The role of psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners in assisting people in understanding how to best assert their ADA rights and arrange job accommodations
Granger, B. (2000). "The role of psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners in assisting people in understanding how to best assert their ADA rights and arrange job accommodations." Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 23(3): 215-223.
Findings from focus groups indicate personal need for education and skills related to decisions about their ADA rights, job accommodations, disclosure and negotiation. Authentic empowerment emerges when practitioners replace their job and maintenance perspective with a teaching, skills development and peer support perspective to achieve independent career decision making over the long term.
Reasonable accommodation for employees with mental disabilities: A mandate for effective supervision?
Hantula, D. A., and Reilly, N. A. (1996). "Reasonable accommodation for employees with mental disabilities: A mandate for effective supervision?" Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 14(1): 107-20.
Reasonable accommodation under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for employees with mental disabilities is explored from a behavior analytic perspective. Although much of the attention in issues of reasonable accommodation is concentrated on persons with physical disabilities, it is argued that the needs of individuals with mental disabilities are in greater need of further study. The criteria for successful accommodation in the workplace for employees with mental disabilities is seen to be structurally different, but functionally similar to successful accommodations for employees with physical disabilities, and is based on the development of enabling environments. Behavior analysis offers a theoretical basis and performance management presents a methodological basis for analyzing, developing, implementing, and evaluating reasonable accommodation for persons with mental disabilities, largely in terms of effective supervision. It is concluded that Title I of the ADA may be seen as providing a mandate for effective supervision, which may also be extended to all employees.
Barriers to evidence based practice in accommodations for an aging workforce
Head, L., Baker, P. M. A., Bagwell, B., & Moon, N. W. (2006). "Barriers to evidence based practice in accommodations for an aging workforce." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 27(4): 391-396.
According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, the number of workers over age 55 is projected to increase significantly over the next twenty years, with this demographic group projected to comprise as much as twenty percent of the workforce by 2015. Accommodating the functional limitations of a large number of older workers may prove challenging for employers; however, policies and practices shaped over the course of the next few decades could allow aging workers to remain a valuable part of the US economy. Given these considerations, it is useful from a public policy perspective to determine the degree to which employers are currently addressing the accommodation needs of older workers. This paper presents the results of a study that attempted to determine the extent to which a sample of Fortune 500 employers was currently accommodating older workers. The study's methodology (in particular, its use of semi-structured telephone interviews) is reevaluated and new options (such as anonymous online employer surveys) are considered for the valid and reliable collection of data on accommodations for older workers.
Assessment of employees with mental health disabilities for workplace accommodations: Case reports
Houlihan, J. P., & Reynolds, M.D. (2001). "Assessment of employees with mental health disabilities for workplace accommodations: Case reports." Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 32(4): 380-385.
Psychologists who work with employers are increasingly being asked to play a role in developing accommodations for workers with mental health disabilities that conform to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1992). Using 6 representative cases referred for accommodation evaluation at a federal agency, this article examines the common practical problems that arise when attempting to implement reasonable accommodations in an organizational work setting. It concludes that maintaining good communication among employees, employers, case managers, and outside treatment providers increases the likelihood of a successful outcome. The article also outlines procedures for conducting workplace accommodation evaluations and suggests strategies to consider when providing this type of consultation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Returning to work after the onset of illness: Experiences of right hemisphere stroke survivors
Koch, L., Egbert, N., Coeling, H., & Ayers, D. (2005). "Returning to work after the onset of illness: Experiences of right hemisphere stroke survivors." Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 48(4): 209-218.
Experiences of right hemisphere stroke survivors in their attempts to return to work after the onset of stroke were explored through an interdisciplinary qualitative investigation. Key findings indicate that (a) participants experienced an array of functional limitations that precipitated employment changes; (b) employment changes had a substantial psychosocial impact on both the stroke survivor and the primary caregiver; and (c) successful integration into employment was associated with both internal resources (e.g., patience, determination, sense of humor) and external resources (e.g., emotional support and encouragement from caregivers, family, and friends; emotional and instrumental support from healthcare professionals; employer willingness to provide reasonable accommodations). The findings support the use of an ecological approach to facilitate successful return to work for this population.
Workplaces that work--successful employment for people with disabilities
Ochocka, J., Roth, D., & Lord, J. (1994). "Workplaces that work--successful employment for people with disabilities." Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 3(1): 29-50.
Examined from a variety of perspectives the experience of successful integrated community employment for persons who have a disability. Specifically, how success is defined is examined, factors contributing to success are addressed, and characteristics of workplaces that shape the employment experience are described. Four female and 11 male disabled employees were observed at their respective work sites and interviewed. Employers/supervisors, and coworkers were also interviewed concerning culture of the workplace, natural support and relationships, physical and social accommodations, and factors of success. Results provide support for understanding the workplace and disability issues within an ecological perspective. Employees, coworkers, and employers all contribute to a successful workplace. Although inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace is related to policies and practices of employers, it is the interaction of all major players that enhances workplace diversity and inclusion. Workplaces that work are enhanced under the conditions of an appropriate job match, skill development, individualized accommodation, and right support. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
The Americans with Disabilities Act and adults with learning disabilities as employees: The realities of the workplace
Price, L., Gerber, P. J., & Mulligan, R. (2003). The Americans with Disabilities Act and adults with learning disabilities as employees: The realities of the workplace. Remedial and Special Education, 24(6), 350-358.
Adults with learning disabilities, ages 19 to 32, were queried to examine their employment experiences at job entry and in job advancement vis-à-vis the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They were questioned regarding job acquisition; experiences on the job; job advancement; self-disclosure; and employer experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. The interviews indicate that provisions of Title I of the ADA currently are being underutilized by individuals with learning disabilities in the workplace. Self-disclosure about disability was rare, and, surprisingly, reasonable accommodations were used infrequently. These findings raise a number of important questions for consideration by the field of learning disabilities.
Promoting reasonable accommodations: An essential post-employment service
Roessler, R., & Rumrill, P. (1995). "Promoting reasonable accommodations: An essential post-employment service." Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 26(4): 3-7.
Discusses the need for post-employment services for vocational rehabilitation clients in a career adjustment context, and demonstrates how the provisions of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act pertain to such services. Research has shown that unless job or work environments are modified, disabled people will experience difficulties in adjusting to careers, leading to a decrease in their employment rate. Vocational rehabilitation counselors must provide postemployment services to ensure job retention. These services should enable people to reduce/remove barriers that thwart job satisfaction, career adjustment, and advancement. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations and involves the disabled persons in identifying barriers and accommodation strategies, initiating requests for accommodations, and implementing them with their employers' cooperation.
Effects of a social competence training program on accommodation request activity, situational self-efficacy, and Americans with Disabilities Act knowledge among employed people with visual impairments and blindness
Rumrill, P. D. (1999). "Effects of a social competence training program on accommodation request activity, situational self-efficacy, and Americans with Disabilities Act knowledge among employed people with visual impairments and blindness." Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 12(1): 25-32.
This article describes an experimental training program to increase knowledge, confidence, and participation in the Americans with Disabilities Act's Title I accommodation request process among employees who are blind or visually impaired (N=46). Participants in the experimental condition (n=23) completed a structured interview to identify their needs for reasonable accommodations, received detailed information about Title I provisions and about national accommodation resources, and completed an intensive social competence/self-advocacy program to develop skills in requesting on-the-job accommodations from their employers. Compared to a matched and randomly assigned control group (n=23), experimental participants were significantly more knowledgeable, confident, and active in the accommodation request process at a 16-week follow-up. Implications for Vocational Rehabilitation policy and practice are also discussed.
Situational assessment of the accommodation needs of employees who are visually impaired
Rumrill, P. D., Roessler, R. T., Battersby-Longden, J. C., & Schuyler, B. R. (1998). "Situational assessment of the accommodation needs of employees who are visually impaired." Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 92(1): 42-54.
In a study of the career maintenance needs of 35 employees with visual impairments in Vermont and Massachusetts, barriers to job retention were assessed in four areas: accessibility of work sites, performance of essential functions, job mastery, and job satisfaction. Recommendations for reasonable accommodations and rehabilitation services are provided.
Perceived strengths and weaknesses in employment policies and services among people with multiple sclerosis: Results of a national survey
Rumrill, J. P. D., Roessler, R. T., Hennessey, M. L., Vierstra, C., Pugsley, E., & Pittman, A. (2000). "Perceived strengths and weaknesses in employment policies and services among people with multiple sclerosis: Results of a national survey." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 21(1): 25-36.
More than 1,300 individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) responded to an employment concerns survey. The results from this survey served as the topics of discussion for seven focus groups including people with MS and service providers in four states. Recommendations to improve the employment outcomes of people with MS that emerged from these discussions clustered in three areas: employment policies and practices, Social Security benefits, and healthcare. Strategies for preserving strengths in employment supports for people with MS clustered in two areas, access to respectful service providers and personal control.
Profiles of on-the-job accommodations needed by professional employees who are blind
Rumrill, P. D., Schuyler, B. R., & Longden, J. C. (1997). "Profiles of on-the-job accommodations needed by professional employees who are blind." Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 91(1): 66-76.
Presents 5 case studies of professional employees (4 females and 1 male, aged 31-55 yrs) who are blind and the postemployment accommodations they needed in 4 areas: worksite accessibility, performance of essential job functions, job mastery, and job satisfaction. Ss completed the Work Experience Survey (R. T. Roessler, 1995), an assessment instrument that can be used to engage employees who are visually impaired or blind in identifying and removing barriers to maintaining and advancing their careers. These case studies illustrate that even successful, professional employees who are blind encounter barriers at work that may thwart the maintenance and advancement of their careers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)
Disability management after stroke: Its medical aspects for workplace accommodation
Saeki, S. (2000). "Disability management after stroke: Its medical aspects for workplace accommodation." Disability and Rehabilitation, 22(13-14): 578-582.
PURPOSE: Return to work (RTW) after stroke is one of the critical issues for both employer and employee. Early RTW is a manifestation of social restoration for the disabled stroke as well as an effective way to reduce social costs related stroke. METHOD: This paper discusses the medical problems referred to RTW after stroke for workplace accommodation. Reviewing the literature, factors influencing RTW after stroke are addressed. RESULTS/CONCLUSION: The process of RTW is extremely individual in each case, and affected by multiple factors. Therefore, it is necessary to individually evaluate precise impact of each factor on RTW.
Job accommodations in the workplace for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing: Current practices and recommendations
Scherich, D. L. (1996). "Job accommodations in the workplace for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing: Current practices and recommendations " Journal of Rehabilitation, 62(2): 27-35.
This is a report of two surveys that examine current practices in the provision of workplace accommodations for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Results show that situations considered the most difficult for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing are group or multi-speaker situations. However, the majority of accommodations requested and in use are more appropriate for one-one communication situations. A limited number of and type of accommodations were identified by both workers and employers. It is felt that both employers and workers may lack knowledge about appropriate accommodation options and the benefits derived from providing those accommodations. The following are recommended to facilitate workplace of employees who are deaf or hard of hearing: (a) increase knowledge about accommodation resource information (b) develop problem-solving training to help workers identify appropriate accommodation options, and (c) provide workers with skills in using a “marketing” approach to request on-the-job accommodations.
Organizational response to employment under the ADA of workers with psychiatric disabilities: Four case studies.
Scott, P. J. (1997). "Organizational response to employment under the ADA of workers with psychiatric disabilities: Four case studies." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 58(3-A): 1086.
Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all employers, public and private, with more than fifteen employees to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities if the accommodation would, within limits, allow the individual to perform the essential functions of the job. Seven years after Congress enacted the law and five years after the initial provisions became effective, little information is available about the experience of organizations faced with requests for workplace accommodation. The question addressed in this study is: How are organizations responding to the ADA mandate to fit individuals with psychiatric disabilities in the workplace? The data sources are three organizations that allowed access to this sensitive information, and a fourth that had two disability discrimination charges filed against it. A brute-force case method approach applied to the four organizations yields the following information: Attorneys are hesitant to allow inquiry into company policy owing to fear of litigation; workers are not disclosing and requesting accommodation; tacit accommodation of long-standing employees appears to be a regular practice; knowledge of the intent of the ADA makes a difference in terms of equality of treatment; and insensitivity to employee privacy results in an adversarial situation. Implications are relevant to the need to improve lines of communication between human resource, EEO, supervisory, and legal staff; consequences of failure to address accommodations on an explicit level; need for better understanding of the availability and use of outside resources for achieving accommodation; and improvement of self-advocacy and disclosure by the employees with disabilities.
Occupational therapy practitioner role in the implementation of worksite accommodations
Shamberg, S. (2005). "Occupational therapy practitioner role in the implementation of worksite accommodations." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 24(2): 185-194.
Injured workers have the right to return to their job if they are able to perform their duties, according to the American with Disabilities Act, 1990. Occupational therapy practitioners employed in work hardening programs, or working as private consultants, have a significant role in assisting employees, employers and human resource personnel in determining "reasonable accommodations" to enable a qualified employee with a physical or mental disability to access the work force. This article discusses the application of accommodations in two case studies.
Generating workplace accommodations: Lessons learned from the integrated case management study
Shaw, W. S., & Feuerstein, M. (2004). "Generating workplace accommodations: Lessons learned from the integrated case management study." Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 14(3): 207-216.
Modified duty and other accommodations by employers have been shown to be helpful in managing workplace disability associated with injuries and illnesses. Benefits of accommodation have been attributed to both reduced physical and psychosocial exposures. Although many employers have adopted proactive return to work policies that emphasize temporary work modifications, standardized methods for specifying appropriate accommodations have been elusive. On the basis of the experiences and results of a randomized controlled study of case management services for work-related upper extremity disorders, the authors describe issues pertaining to the application of self-report measures of function and exposure assessment for generating accommodations. Challenges of this approach are 1) including specific work tasks on measures of physical function; 2) improving concordance between ergonomic exposure categories and methods of accommodation; and 3) providing a structured process for negotiating employee and employer preferences. To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of accommodation efforts, new tools for assessing function and ergonomic exposures in the workplace should be developed to specify accommodations more directly. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
A controlled case study of supervisor training to optimize response to injury in the food processing industry
Shaw, W. S., Robertson, M. M., McLellan, R. K., Verma, S., & Pransky, G. (2006). "A controlled case study of supervisor training to optimize response to injury in the food processing industry." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 26(2): 107-114.
The role of supervisors to aid injured workers, access health care, and provide reasonable accommodation may prevent prolonged disability among workers reporting musculoskeletal pain. Although supervisor training has been a common element of broad-based ergonomic interventions to prevent injuries, the impact of supervisor training alone to improve injury response has not been studied. In a controlled design, 11 supervisors in an intervention group and 12 supervisors in a delayed intervention control group from the same plant were provided a 4-hour training workshop. The workshop emphasized communication skills and ergonomic accommodation for workers reporting injuries or health concerns. Workers' compensation claims data in the 7 months before and after the workshop showed a 47% reduction in new claims and an 18% reduction in active lost-time claims versus 27% and 7%, respectively, in the control group. Improving the response of frontline supervisors to employees' work-related health and safety concerns may produce sustainable reductions in injury claims and disability costs.
Employee perspectives on the role of supervisors to prevent workplace disability after injuries
Shaw, W. S., Robertson, M. M., Pransky, G., & McLellan, R. K. (2003). "Employee perspectives on the role of supervisors to prevent workplace disability after injuries." Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 13(3): 129-142.
After workplace injuries, supervisors can play an important role in aiding workers, accessing health care services, and providing reasonable accommodation. However, few studies have identified those aspects of supervisor involvement most valued by employees for post-injury recovery and return to work. As part of needs assessment for a supervisory training program, 30 employees from four companies were interviewed about the role of supervisors to prevent workplace disability after injuries. From interview notes, 305 employee statements were extracted for analysis. An affinity mapping process with an expert panel produced 11 common themes: accommodation, communicating with workers, responsiveness, concern for welfare, empathy/support, validation, fairness/respect, follow-up, shared decision-making, coordinating with medical providers, and obtaining coworker support of accommodation. Interpersonal aspects of supervision may be as important as physical work accommodation to facilitate return to work after injury. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Individual and job site factors in the development of reasonable accommodations for workers with schizophrenia
Symanski-Tondora, J. L. (2003). "Individual and job site factors in the development of reasonable accommodations for workers with schizophrenia." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 63(8-B): 3942.
The Title I provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) have had minimal impact on the growth of equal opportunities for people with serious psychiatric disabilities who wish to attain competitive employment. While some attention has been paid to the "reasonable accommodations" clause of the ADA as it pertains to individuals with physical disabilities, the role of such accommodations in facilitating workplace integration for people with psychiatric disabilities has been a largely neglected area. If the vision of the ADA is to be realized, clinical and vocational rehabilitation professionals must provide empirical evidence and professional recommendations regarding what really works, and for whom, in regard to modifications in the employment arena. This study examines how individual characteristics (e.g., cognitive impairment, baseline work functioning, clinical symptomatology) and work site characteristics (i.e., site complexity) impact the need for reasonable accommodations among a sample of 87 participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in an ongoing Work Rehabilitation study at the West Haven Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Findings from the current study regarding frequently employed accommodations replicate prior research on this topic and highlight the role of the following accommodations: establishing flexible schedules and leave policies, allowing the employee to have telephone access to his/her therapist, accepting a longer learning period, creating an initial job "match" based on the employee's strengths and needs, and allowing the employee more time to complete tasks. Significant between-group differences across various study groups of interest support the fundamental hypothesis of the current research, i.e., that accommodations are not "generic" to all persons with psychiatric disabilities, but rather, they can, and should, take into consideration both characteristics of the job site and unique personal characteristics, in particular an individual's baseline work behavior. Finally, this study presents compelling evidence for the need of clinical and rehabilitation professionals to attend to an individual's interpersonal skills, rather than his/her specific work quality or habits, when designing reasonable accommodations.
Workplace supports: A view from employers who have hired supported employees
Unger, D. D. (1999). "Workplace supports: A view from employers who have hired supported employees." Focus On Autism AND Other Developmental Disabilities, 14(3), 167-179.
This article describes employers' assessment of the types of workplace supports available within their businesses, the workplace accommodations provided to supported employees, and the role of human service providers in facilitating those accommodations. Employee support needs in the areas of employee training and benefits, career advancement, and work culture were addressed by the 53 employers who participated in the study. The results indicated that employers are quite capable of providing workplace accommodations for workers with significant disabilities, drawing on existing employer resources. The data indicated that employers are going beyond mere compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 "reasonable accommodations" provisions; employers reported responding to employee needs in such areas as career advancement, changing something about one's job, and social integration. Often, supervisors and co-workers played instrumental roles in providing support to co-workers with disabilities.
Development of business supports for persons with mental retardation in the workplace
Wehman, P., Target, P., Eltzeroth, H., Green, H., Brooke, V., & Barcus, J. M. (1999). "Development of business supports for persons with mental retardation in the workplace." Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 13(3): 175-181.
The establishment of business based supports for workers with disabilities can increase opportunities for secure employment with good pay, benefits, and advancement for people with moderate and severe mental retardation. This article describes a model that helps companies build their capacities to support workers with disabilities. A corporate or community based liaison is available to guide and provide technical assistance during this internal process, which involves: analyzing existing workplace supports and modifying or creating new strategies or activities that enable people with disabilities to participate in all phases of the employment process.
User needs evaluation of workplace accommodations
Williams, M., Sabata, D., & Zolna, J. (2006). "User needs evaluation of workplace accommodations." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 27(4): 355-362.
This study examined the multi-faceted issues surrounding workplace accommodation for workers with disabilities. A user needs survey of 510 disabled individuals examined the types of technology and accommodations needed to perform work and employment-related activities. Workers with disabilities used a variety of workplace accommodations to overcome difficulties with functional limitations. Some differences existed in the types of accommodations used by older and younger workers who had the same functional limitation. Workers of all ages were not likely to report mental limitations, and those who did were not likely to utilize workplace accommodations, with the exception of some memory strategies. For those with hearing loss, younger workers used sign language more frequently, while pre-retirement and retirement age workers used more hearing aids. Working age adults with vision impairments used electronic documents, Braille, and CCTVs more than pre-retirement or retirement age workers. Regardless of age, workers reporting functional limitations often received no workplace accommodations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Workplace accommodations for people with disabilities: National health interview survey disability supplement, 1994-1995
Zwerling, C., Whitten, P. S., Sprince, N. L., Wallace, R. B., Blanck, P., & Heeringa, S. G. (2003). "Workplace accommodations for people with disabilities: National health interview survey disability supplement, 1994-1995." Journal of Occupational And Environmental Medicine/ American College of Occupational And Environmental Medicine, 45(5): 517-525.
As American workers age, workers with impairments and functional limitations make up a larger percentage of our workforce. This investigation presents data from the National Health Interview Survey Disability Supplement 1994-1995 (NHIS-D) describing the nature of workplace accommodations in the American workforce and factors associated with the provision of such accommodations. Of a nationally representative sample of workers aged 18 to 69 years with a wide range of impairments, 12% reported receiving workplace accommodations. Males (odds ratio (OR) 0.64: 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53-0.78) and Southerners (OR 0.57; 95% CI = 0.47-0.70) were less likely than others to receive workplace accommodations. Those with mental health conditions were less likely than others to receive accommodations (OR 0.56; 95% CI = 0.44-0.70). College graduates (OR 1.53; 95% CI = 1.22-1.91), older workers, full time workers (OR 3.99; 95% CI = 2.63-3.87), and the self-employed (OR 1.76; 95% CI = 1.28-2.41) were more likely than others to receive accommodations.