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Non-Obvious Disability in the Workplace: An Overview 1 ADA Trainer Network Module 3j Trainer’s...

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Non-Obvious Disability in the Workplace: An Overview 1 ADA Trainer Network Module 3j Trainer’s Name Trainer’s Title Phone Number Email/Website Here
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Non-Obvious Disability in the Workplace:

An Overview

ADA Trainer Network

Module 3j

Trainer’s Name

Trainer’s TitlePhone Number

Email/Website Here

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DisclaimerInformation, materials, and/or technical assistance are intended solely as informal guidance, and are neither a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities under the ADA, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is authorized by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to provide information, materials, and technical assistance to individuals and entities that are covered by the ADA. The contents of this document were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133 A110020. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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What are non-obvious disabilities?

• (Arguably) The most common category of disability in the US

• Are covered by the ADA and the ADAAA just like obvious disabilities

• Disabilities that may be misunderstood, leading to a unique dynamic in the workplace

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The workplace dynamic: Non-obvious disabilities

• Disclosure may be a choice

• Greater social stigma

• “But you look just fine!”—Credibility issues

• Others may be more likely to “blame” people for their disability

• Employers often confused about accommodation practices

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What are some examples of major types of non-obvious disability?

• Arthritis• Mental illness• Diabetes• Autism/Aspergers syndrome• Learning disabilities• ADD/ADHD• AIDS/HIV• Multiple Sclerosis• Cancer• Seizure disorder• Multiple chemical sensitivity• Other?

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What do you think?

Taking into account people with both new and existing

conditions, about how many adult Americans experience a

mental health disorder in a given year?*

A. One in tenB. One in eightC. One in sixD. One in four

*National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental Illness: Facts and Numbers. (Accessed at http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Mental_Illness&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=53155)

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What do you think?

What is the leading cause of disability among people aged 15 – 44 in the US and Canada?

*A. CancerB. DepressionC. Multiple SclerosisD. Seizure disorder

*“NIMH: The numbers count—Mental disorders in America.” National Institute of Health. (Available at http://wwwapps.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america.shtml. [Citing 2004 World Health Report Annex Table 3 Burden of disease in DALYs by cause, sex and mortality stratum in WHO regions, estimates for 2002. Geneva: World Health Organization].

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What do you think?

The most common type of disability among all age groups

is:*A. ArthritisB. CancerC. Seizure disorderD. Asperger syndrome/autism

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation—United States, 2003–2005. MMWR 2006;55:1089–1092. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5540a2.htm

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What do you think?

Overall, what percent of adults in America are diagnosed with

one or more chronic illness disabilities?*

A. 10%B. 20%C. 35%D. 50%

*US Center for Disease Control. Accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm.

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What do you think?

Approximately what percent of veterans returning from Iraq or

Afghanistan have PTSD, depression and/or traumatic

brain injury? A. 10%B. 20%C. 30%D. 70%

*RAND Corporation. (2008). Invisible Wounds of War. Accessed at http://www.rand.org/multi/military/veterans.html

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Why are nonobvious disabilities becoming more prevalent among US workers?

• Our aging population• Greater awareness/less shame• Enhanced diagnostic/screening practices• Increased survival of illnesses/injuries• Environmental issues• Other?

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Nonobvious disabilities and the ADA: Legal considerations

• Disclosure is a choice (except when requesting a reasonable accommodation)

• ADA: Three stages of employment have different disability inquiry conditions:

– Hiring: No disability inquiries during hiring (“pre-employment”)

– Post-offer/before work-starts: disability inquiries and medical examinations are OK, whether or not they are job-related, as long as this is required of all employees in the same job category.

– After work-start: Employer may make an inquiry if there is a reasonable belief an accommodation is needed

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Nonobvious Disabilities and the Accommodation Process

Person only has a right to an accommodation if their disability, that is covered by the ADA, is interfering with their ability to perform essential functions of the job.

Employer may (but is not required to) collect medical information related to the accommodation decision

Accommodation discussion should include: Who else will be told and why?

Choosing an accommodation—Creativity is your best resource

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Can you think of some accommodation options?

Arthritis

JoeA 38 year old customer support

representative has difficulty walking long distances or sitting for more

than 3 hours at a time due to arthritis.

A resource: The Job Accommodation Network

http://askjan.org/soar/disabilities.html

• Adjusting chair (ergonomic chair, stand/lean stool)

• Adjust desk (standing/sitting desk)• Work from home (full- or part-

time)• More frequent small breaks• Be sure work environment

temperature is appropriate

Can you think of some accommodation options? Major Depression

Ellen

Three weeks ago, Ellen took leave from her job as a nurse because she was

diagnosed with depression. She now will be returning to work, but has requested an accommodation for her return. While working, she will continue her treatment.

A resource: The Job Accommodation Network

http://askjan.org/soar/disabilities.html

• Flexible hours to continue treatment

• Longer work breaks• Job coach• Employee Assistance Program• Maintain open channels of

communication• Clarity of expectations

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Can you think of some accommodation options? Diabetes

MikeMike is a 28 year old high school science

teacher. Two months ago, he was diagnosed with diabetes. He believes he

has now learned to manage his condition. But he needs to check his blood once every three hours, needs

short breaks to take his medication and needs to eat on a regular schedule.

A resource: The Job Accommodation Network

http://askjan.org/soar/disabilities.htm

• Schedule adjustments to include short breaks

• Private location to check blood• Possible need to occasionally make

unexpected exits to deal with low blood sugar

• Keep diabetes supplies nearby

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Mid-Atlantic ADA CenterTransCen, Inc.

401 North Washington Street, Suite 450Rockville, MD 20850

Toll-Free: 800.949.4232 (DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, WV)

Telephone 301-217-0124Fax 301-251-3762TTY 301-217-0124Email [email protected] www.ADAinfo.org

The contents of this presentation were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133 A110020. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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