the street without fear of approach
by strangers. Dwarfism often acts
as a tool for strangers to breach
the wall. Strangers often approach
members of LPA in public with
personal, obtrusive questions.
QHow can corporate
America better reach
people with disabilities?
Bennett: The landmark bill, the
ADA, was passed in 1990 to ensure
that every American could live,
work and participate in our society
free from discrimination. The sad
reality is the ADA has not been
TOP 50 BEST PRACTICES
What best practices help companies
reach, retain and develop employees
with disabilities? Here’s some facts
and ideas from the DiversityInc Top 10
Companies for People With Disabilities
(Eastman Kodak Co., Merrill Lynch &
Co., PricewaterhouseCoopers, Marriott
International, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson
& Son, Wachovia, JPMorgan Chase, Ernst &
Young, and Deloitte & Touche).
All have employee-resource groups
for people with disabilities, compared
with 55 percent of the Top 50.
All have active programs to recruit
people with disabilities, compared
with 82 percent of the Top 50.
All have web sites that feature images
of people with disabilities, compared
with 66 percent of the Top 50.
All have alternative career tracks
for parents or others with long-term
family-care issues, compared with 42
percent of the Top 50.
They have an average of 49 percent of
managers participating in mentoring.
fully realized. Yet with the ever-evolving world of technology at
our fingertips, some of the most
brilliant minds using the Internet
today are those with disabilities.
It would be prudent for corporate
America to engage the disability
community through technology.
Gross: Thanks to the ADA, most
employers (the law applies to those
with 15 or more employees) are
no longer allowed to ask job applicants whether they have certain
disabilities or how severe they are.
However, after an employer makes
a job offer, the employer may ask
questions about an applicant’s
health and may require a medical
examination as long as it treats all
applicants the same.
The ADA also prohibits most
employers from discriminating on
the basis of disability if the applicant or employee is able to do the
job’s essential functions. The employer must provide a reasonable
accommodation that will enable an
otherwise qualified person with a
disability to do the job. Accommodations for people with epilepsy
are generally easy to implement
and inexpensive. Such accommodations may include allowing
breaks to take medication or leave
to seek treatment or adjust to
medication, providing a private
area to rest after having a seizure,
installing a rubber mat or carpet
to cushion a fall, making adjustments to work schedules (such as
allowing one to work a day shift to
avoid sleep disruption), providing
a checklist to assist in remembering tasks (for those with memory
impairment), allowing work at
home, and providing reassignment
to another open position for which
the individual is qualified.
Muir: Hiring them is the first pri-
ority. If a company is serious about
appealing to their marketplace,
they need to include people with
disabilities (the largest and wealthiest minority group in the United
States). Portraying employees with
disabilities in advertising and other
media, in a positive way, is another
good strategy. Once people with
disabilities know companies
are actively seeking all qualified
candidates, then consumers with
disabilities will follow.
Luna: Corporate America needs
to establish relationships with