Why Does Your Organization Need ADA Training?
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Learn Why Your Organization Needs ADA Training

It should come as no surprise how many organizations are undoubtedly familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [1]. Passed in 1990, this law officially went into effect in 1992 and improved protection for individuals with disabilities in terms of job accommodations, as well as access to goods and services. Title I of the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities and also prevents discrimination against these employees because of their disability.

Of course, there is not one blanket definition of what constitutes a disability. As medical technology advanced, various shifts have occurred in terms of the afflictions and injuries the newly disabled suffer from. For example, according to the Social Security Administration, in 1961, the majority of disabled adults (around 25%) were diagnosed with issues relating to heart disease or stroke [2]. In 2011, the chief disability (33%) was back pain or musculoskeletal issues.

The workforce is aging [3], and workplace-related injuries are on the rise, which is why it is more important than ever to take steps to ensure that your work environment is a place where all employees can thrive. This includes taking reasonable steps to accommodate those with disabilities. What exactly are “reasonable steps?"

Reasonable Accommodation: Getting Everyone On The Same Page

The law requires that employers provide “reasonable accommodation,” but does not define what this means [4]. Since expectations (and results) can vary, it is a good idea to have ADA reasonable accommodation training to ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of what is available and what is offered.

Beyond this, undergoing ADA training helps promote a more inclusive culture in the workplace. A more inclusive culture, in turn, promotes goodwill and attracts more customers.

It is important to note that ADA claims are on the rise and there are serious fines, penalties and fees levied against businesses that are non-compliant. Examples of non-compliance include:

  • Failure to install a wheelchair ramp where necessary
  • Failure to provide parking spaces for the disabled
  • Inadequate restroom facilities for the disabled
  • Walkways that are too narrow or too steep
  • A lack of handrails for walkways
  • Elevator or escalator systems that are problematic

Implementing these items does not necessarily mean that your business is compliant. Consequently, it is important to address specific and general reasonable accommodations in your training so that you and your employees can better understand what is being asked of you as well as what is required of your specific place of business in order to achieve and maintain ADA compliance.

Administering proper ADA reasonable accommodation training helps protect your business or organization in the event that legal action is undertaken against you. It also helps clearly manage employee and manager expectations so that everyone has a mutual understanding of the process and how it is implemented.

Businesses and organizations that maintain their ADA compliance can enjoy tax write-offs as well as added financial assistance, giving you even more reason to take advantage of this specialized and worthwhile training.

Benefits Of ADA Compliance For Employees

Beyond promoting an inclusive culture at the workplace, employees also benefit from working for a company that has undergone specific ADA training. When employees are given reasonable accommodation, they are in turn happier and statistically more productive, creating a ripple-effect that further bolsters morale and motivation [5].

With improved training around ADA compliance and accommodation, there is less time wasted resolving conflicts, misunderstanding and creating problems. Human Resources can, in turn, devote their resources toward helping to grow the business. Employees get more time to work and improve their work situations and, by large, it simply becomes a better, well-rounded place to work.

The benefits of ADA reasonable accommodation training and compliance go beyond employee and workplace benefits. Consumers also benefit from seeing a company that has taken steps to create a more inclusive workplace and has remained proactive in implementing ADA-related suggestions and requirements.

Benefits Of ADA Compliance For Consumers

It is no secret that the baby-boomer population is aging. This giant swath of consumers represents a significant segment of the customer market, and any business that ignores them does so at its own peril. Taking steps to implement proper ADA requirements and recommendations expands your customer base and casts a wider net on who can access your products and services.

Greater accessibility, in turn, means more satisfied customers; a win-win for everyone involved. Plus, with so many people involved across various social networks, there is now a greater emphasis on social responsibility and the obligation of an organization to work for the benefit of the public or community at large. People are champions of brands that endeavor to unify under a common cause, and helping to support the disabled is a cause that many can rally behind.

It is not just physical workplaces that need to be ADA compliant. New ADA requirements also include website accommodations so that individuals with low vision or other impairments may successfully navigate websites, shop online, get directions and complete other common website practices.

All Of These Reasons And Much More

There is a plethora of reasons why incorporating ADA compliance into your training program makes fiscal and ethical sense beyond simply ensuring that all customers, visitors and patrons, regardless of their age, disability or impairment, can enjoy doing business with you. By taking steps today to ensure that your organization meets or exceeds these requirements, you’ll be creating a positive force in the community that resonates with your target audience as well as inspires and motivates employees to achieve more.

The powerful effects of ADA compliance are more than just financial. They create an environment where all are treated with respect and compelled to be and do their very best. And that’s a statement that any business or organization can get behind with complete enthusiasm and support.

References:

[1] Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act

[2] Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2014 Update

[3] 5 Things You Should Know About Disability

[4] Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace

[5] Promoting Employee Happiness Benefits Everyone

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