Webinar: The ADA and Employment

 

audio version (opens in a new tab)

 

Introduction

October is one of my favorite months of the year. July recognizes passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). October is important because

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Recognizes employment of people with disabilities. Since NDEAM is coming up in about a month, I chose this week to summarize an employment-themed webinar which I attended at the end of July. On July 29, 2021, I attended a webinar entitled “ADA 31st Anniversary conversation”. It was presented by the

Employer Assistance Resource Network (EARN).

In this blog post, I will summarize what I learned.

 

One presenter previously worked in the U.S. Senate. The other individual represented AT&T’s accessibility department.

Legalities

Before the ADA was passed, many more people with disabilities experienced discrimination. The representative from business stated that the ADA has helped people with disabilities gain rights. However, attitudinal barriers remain. People with disabilities should be treated the same way in the most integrated setting possible. Some Supreme Court cases narrowed the definition of disability. As a result, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 was passed to expand disability coverage. Focus then moved to a business’s perspective.

 

Disability Inclusion

The business community has, according to the second presenter, gone from compliance (addressing disability issues) to inclusion (welcoming everyone and being accessible). Inclusion can include education and considering the needs of people with both visible and invisible disabilities. Some companies are making a proactive effort to hire individuals with disabilities. Focus was then on the future.

 

Considerations About Technology

The second presenter said it is important to consider emerging technology. Artificial intelligence, for example, can be useful or biased. Attitudinal barriers should also change for the positive by hiring people based on qualifications. The first presenter cited importance of having people with disabilities at the table and considering universal design. Bottom line: inclusion can lead to employment success.

 

Question for Readers

Of the subjects discussed above, which observation or observations caught your attention and why? I shall return with another article.

 

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