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Related article: 5 Tips for Creating a More Disability Inclusive Culture

October is National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month, a time where employers recognize the skills of individuals with disabilities and redirect their efforts towards diversity hiring.

Employing individuals with disabilities should be considered an integral component of any business’ diversity recruitment and hiring initiatives, as it can serve multiple purposes. This includes providing all qualified individuals with the opportunity to work, adherence to laws impacting those with disabilities, not to mention economic benefits such as tax credits, to name a few.

If you are an employer or anyone involved in diversity programs for your business, here are several things to consider when it comes to the recruitment and hiring of individuals with disabilities.

Understand the Americans with Disabilities Act. Enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1990 and further amended in 2008, the ADA was enacted by Congress to provide equal access and opportunities to individuals with disabilities, thereby eliminating discrimination to those with physical and mental disabilities. The ADA covers various areas and is also one of the numerous laws that have been enacted as it relates to diversity and equal opportunity employment. Read more about OFCCP compliance here.

Understand the myths associated with hiring individuals with disabilities. There are countless myths related to hiring those with disabilities. One example is the false notion that hiring an individual with a disability will increase workers compensation insurance rates for employers. This is a fallacy. Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.

Understand the Dos and Don’ts of interviewing. The ADA also stipulates various Dos and Don’ts in regards to questions employers should consider when interviewing individuals with disabilities. For example, the employer can consider candidates based on education, training and skills for the position. They cannot ask questions about whether the candidate takes any type of medication. Alternately, if interviewing a candidate with a disability, questions surrounding accommodations that may need to be made for the individual can be addressed. Read more about what questions should or should not be broached during an interview.

Understand the tax benefits of employing individuals with disabilities. The Internal Revenue Code offers several provisions targeted to making businesses more accessible to people with disabilities. One of which includes a tax credit for small businesses (those with revenue of 1 million or less) of up to $5,000 annually to provide accommodations and equipment. For more tax benefits, read here.

For more information on hiring people with disabilities, visit our Resources section today.

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