Research Proposal: Disability Act in Workplace

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Disability Act in the Workplace

Many employers fail to make necessary accommodations for disabilities in the workplace.

There are two hypotheses in this study stated as follows:


Employers who fail to make necessary accommodations for disabilities in the work place fail to do so because they are unaware of what accommodations need to be made.


Employers fail to make necessary accommodations in the workplace due to failure of disabled employees to inform them precisely of their specific needs.

Research questions in this study include those as follows:

(1) Why do employers fail to make necessary accommodations for disabilities in the workplace?

(2) What serves to best inform the employer of what specific accommodations are needed in the workplace?

(3) What steps are needed to be taken to ensure that more employers make accommodations for individuals with disabilities in the workplace?


The importance of this study is in the additional knowledge that will be added to the already existing base of knowledge in this area of study.


While there is much legislation historically and even in the present that illustrates the need for and requirements for addressing accommodations for individuals with disabilities in the workplace, oftentimes employers fail to make the necessary accommodations that are needed by workers with disabilities in their specific workplace. This study seeks to understand why that this is true and as well to identify the best method for ensuring that employers do not make these necessary accommodations and this added to why they did not make the accommodations in the beginning of the employee of these individuals.


The work of Bruyere, Erickson and VanLooy (2004) entitled: "Comparative Study of Workplace Policy and Practices Contributing to Disability Nondiscrimination" reports a study that assessed the impact of "…disability nondiscrimination legislation on employer practices in the United States and United Kingdom." This study states that people with disabilities "Additionally stated by Bruyere, Erickson and VanLooy is the facts as follows: "People with disabilities are often underemployed or unemployed, compared with their nondisabled peers -- and approximately one in six people has a disability. In the 1990s, many world economies were stronger than they had been for decades. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate of persons with disabilities did not improve concurrently, and in many countries, it continues to be disproportionate to that of the general population. In the United States, for example, 34% of men and 33% of women with disabilities were employed in 1999, compared with 95% of men and 82% of women without disabilities. This low employment rate represents a loss of income and social and economic participation for people with disabilities, as well as a significant loss of willing and able talent to both private- and public-sector organizations. This disparity is a result of inequities in a variety of areas including social policy, access to education, training, employment, and society's attitudes. It persists in spite of developments in assistive technologies, innovations in rehabilitation approaches, and enhanced legislative protections." (Bruyere, Erickson and VanLooy, 2004)

The United States and the United Kingdom both, during the 1990s "passed disability nondiscrimination legislation. This legislation is known as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in the United States and in the United Kingdom the act is called the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 (DDA). This law in the United States "provides civil rights protection to individual with disabilities, both mental and physical, similar to that provided to individuals on the basis of sex, race, national origin and religion." (Bruyere, Erickson and VanLooy, 2004) Equal opportunities are guaranteed to individuals in relation to employment and in both local and state governments for those individuals with disabilities. This includes accommodation in public places and telephone services and additionally with access to transportation that others who no disabilities have access to. This is applicable to companies employing more than 15 individuals in their business. Additionally, prescreening and hiring practices are included in the requirements of the ADA of 1990. Reasonable accommodations must be made to enable individuals who are qualified to perform the "essential functions of their jobs in a reasonable manner if the provision of such accommodations does not impose an undue hardship." (Bruyere, Erickson and VanLooy, 2004) According to Buyere, Erickson and VanLooy "A review of the literature suggests that much research remains to be done on the effects of disability antidiscrimination legislation in the workplace, both in the United States and abroad. The most current and comprehensive cross-cultural review of employment policies for individuals with disabilities provides a useful legislative and policy comparison but does not attempt to evaluate the impact of the laws it reviews in the 18 countries studied." (Buyere, Erickson and VanLooy, 2004) Findings in the study reported by Buyere, Erickson and VanLooy state: "In both the United States and the United Kingdom employers are responding to their respective disability nondiscrimination legislation by making accommodations-adjustments needed by applicants and employees with disabilities. In fact, more than 93% of the respondents noted that their company had made at least 1 of the 11 types of accommodations enquired about. Overall, the accommodations noted by the largest number of respondents (when averaged across both countries) included being flexible in the application of HR policies (82%) and making existing facilities accessible (80%), followed by modifications to equipment (66%) and to the work environment (66%). Some of the least often reported accommodations were in the areas of providing qualified readers and interpreters and making changes in supervisory methods." (Buyere, Erickson and VanLooy, 2004) the following chart shows the specific findings in this study in the United States as compared to the findings in the United Kingdom concerning accommodations for individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

Figure 1

Source: Buyere, Erickson and VanLooy (2004)

This study asked the question of "Who holds responsibility for making the final decision regarding the provision of an accommodation-adjustment?" (Buyere, Erickson and VanLooy, 2004) Responses were stated as follows:

United States

Human Resources staff


Other manager or director


No Single Party Responsible


United Kingdom

Other manager or director


Immediate supervisor of the employee


No single responsible party


The document entitled: "Workplace Disability Conflict Management" states that the reasonable accommodation (RA) request procedure should be developed in conjunction with a disability advisory group, relevant policy-makers and a representative group of management officials who will be implementing it. Additionally stated are the following:

1. The steps of the procedures should encourage interactive dialogue.

2. The procedure needs to include the ability to turn to a facilitated process at any stage.

3. The spirit of the procedure should foster problem-solving at the lowest level.

4. Job descriptions need to be up-to-date and identify essential job duties.

5. Include policies and procedures regarding disability in all relevant publications and venues, including office handbooks and employee intranet websites.

6. Consider overlapping policies, such as FMLA, light duty policies, and leave and placement policies that might, for example be used as possible accommodations.

7. Make the procedure available to applicants as well as employees. (Cohen, 2006)

Stated as requirements of training for managers, supervisors and employees are the following:

1. Disability awareness and etiquette.

2. Bias self-awareness.

3. Conflict management skills, such as negotiation and conflict resolution.

4. Disability-related policies and procedures.

5. Hold special events, such as brown bag speakers and a disability awareness day. Participate in National Disability Mentoring Day and other activities.

6. Include disability-related themes on related programs, such as those sponsored by the EEO (Equal Opportunity Employment) committee. (Cohen, 2006)

Stated as 'clear competency' expectations for supervisors and managers in the company are the following requirements:

1. Ability to listen to employees' concerns.

2. Ability to express empathy about employee's feelings about how the disability impacts them.

3. Ability to be proactive -- not reactive -- to an employee's disability and the impact on the employee, co-workers and their surroundings.

4. Knowledge and motivation to refer employees to organizational resources for support. (Cohen, 2006)

Options for facilitation is stated to include the following actions:

1. Train specially selected grass roots problem-solvers, such as co-workers and supervisors, with more intensive disability-related training.

2. Train reasonable accommodation designated decision-makers.

3. Turn to professional facilitation providers such as internal or external ombuds, mediators and facilitators when issues cannot be resolved at a lower level.

4. Use the ADA Mediation Guidelines to inform your facilitated practices and your training. (Cohen, 2006)

In order to integrate access for disabilities with standard operating procedures the following requirements are stated: (1) Encourage disability special interest groups, if these groups are part of your organization's culture; (2) Emergency evacuation listings of individual people with disabilities, on a voluntary and confidential basis; and (3) Promote an every-day view of employees with disabilities, by publishing feature stories in your organization's newsletter, bulletin board and reports, to the extent that other groups and people are also included. (Cohen, 2006)

Measurable goals are stated to include: (1) Recruitment of people with disabilities at job fairs and in college… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Disability Act in Workplace.  (2008, October 2).  Retrieved September 21, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Disability Act in Workplace."  2 October 2008.  Web.  21 September 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Disability Act in Workplace."  October 2, 2008.  Accessed September 21, 2019.