ADA Questions & Answers

Ever curious as to what the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is and how it affects employers and employees?  Below are some common questions answered.

Employment

Q. What employers are covered by title I of the ADA, and when is the coverage effective?

A. The title I employment provisions apply to private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions. Employers with 25 or more employees were covered as of July 26, 1992. Employers with 15 or more employees were covered two years later, beginning July 26, 1994.

Q. What practices and activities are covered by the employment nondiscrimination requirements?

A. The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. It applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure, layoff, leave, fringe benefits, and all other employment-related activities.

Q. Who is protected from employment discrimination?

A. Employment discrimination is prohibited against “qualified individuals with disabilities.” This includes applicants for employment and employees. An individual is considered to have a “disability” if s/he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with an individual with a disability also are protected.

The first part of the definition makes clear that the ADA applies to persons who have impairments and that these must substantially limit major life activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working. An individual with epilepsy, paralysis, HIV infection, AIDS, a substantial hearing or visual impairment, mental retardation, or a specific learning disability is covered, but an individual with a minor, nonchronic condition of short duration, such as a sprain, broken limb, or the flu, generally would not be covered.

The second part of the definition protecting individuals with a record of a disability would cover, for example, a person who has recovered from cancer or mental illness.

The third part of the definition protects individuals who are regarded as having a substantially limiting impairment, even though they may not have such an impairment. For example, this provision would protect a qualified individual with a severe facial disfigurement from being denied employment because an employer feared the “negative reactions” of customers or co-workers.

Q. Who is a “qualified individual with a disability?”

A. A qualified individual with a disability is a person who meets legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of an employment position that s/he holds or seeks, and who can perform the oeessential functionsî of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. Requiring the ability to perform “essential” functions assures that an individual with a disability will not be considered unqualified simply because of inability to perform marginal or incidental job functions. If the individual is qualified to perform essential job functions except for limitations caused by a disability, the employer must consider whether the individual could perform these functions with a reasonable accommodation. If a written job description has been prepared in advance of advertising or interviewing applicants for a job, this will be considered as evidence, although not conclusive evidence, of the essential functions of the job.

Q. Does an employer have to give preference to a qualified applicant with a disability over other applicants?

A. No. An employer is free to select the most qualified applicant available and to make decisions based on reasons unrelated to a disability. For example, suppose two persons apply for a job as a typist and an essential function of the job is to type 75 words per minute accurately. One applicant, an individual with a disability, who is provided with a reasonable accommodation for a typing test, types 50 words per minute; the other applicant who has no disability accurately types 75 words per minute. The employer can hire the applicant with the higher typing speed, if typing speed is needed for successful performance of the job.

Q. What limitations does the ADA impose on medical examinations and inquiries about disability?

A. An employer may not ask or require a job applicant to take a medical examination before making a job offer. It cannot make any pre-employment inquiry about a disability or the nature or severity of a disability. An employer may, however, ask questions about the ability to perform specific job functions and may, with certain limitations, ask an individual with a disability to describe or demonstrate how s/he would perform these functions.

An employer may condition a job offer on the satisfactory result of a post-offer medical examination or medical inquiry if this is required of all entering employees in the same job category. A post-offer examination or inquiry does not have to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.

However, if an individual is not hired because a post-offer medical examination or inquiry reveals a disability, the reason(s) for not hiring must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. The employer also must show that no reasonable accommodation was available that would enable the individual to perform the essential job functions, or that accommodation would impose an undue hardship. A post-offer medical examination may disqualify an individual if the employer can demonstrate that the individual would pose a “direct threat” in the workplace (i.e., a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others) that cannot be eliminated or reduced below the oedirect threatî level through reasonable accommodation. Such a disqualification is job-related and consistent with business necessity. A post-offer medical examination may not disqualify an individual with a disability who is currently able to perform essential job functions because of speculation that the disability may cause a risk of future injury.

After a person starts work, a medical examination or inquiry of an employee must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. Employers may conduct employee medical examinations where there is evidence of a job performance or safety problem, examinations required by other Federal laws, examinations to determine current fitness to perform a particular job, and voluntary examinations that are part of employee health programs.

Information from all medical examinations and inquiries must be kept apart from general personnel files as a separate, confidential medical record, available only under limited conditions.

Tests for illegal use of drugs are not medical examinations under the ADA and are not subject to the restrictions of such examinations.

Q. When can an employer ask an applicant to “self-identify” as having a disability?
A.
Federal contractors and subcontractors who are covered by the affirmative action requirements of section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 may invite individuals with disabilities to identify themselves on a job application form or by other pre-employment inquiry, to satisfy the section 503 affirmative action requirements. Employers who request such information must observe section 503 requirements regarding the manner in which such information is requested and used, and the procedures for maintaining such information as a separate, confidential record, apart from regular personnel records.

A pre-employment inquiry about a disability is allowed if required by another Federal law or regulation such as those applicable to disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era. Pre-employment inquiries about disabilities may be necessary under such laws to identify applicants or clients with disabilities in order to provide them with required special services.

Q. Does the ADA require employers to develop written job descriptions?

A. No. The ADA does not require employers to develop or maintain job descriptions. However, a written job description that is prepared before advertising or interviewing applicants for a job will be considered as evidence along with other relevant factors. If an employer uses job descriptions, they should be reviewed to make sure they accurately reflect the actual functions of a job. A job description will be most helpful if it focuses on the results or outcome of a job function, not solely on the way it customarily is performed. A reasonable accommodation may enable a person with a disability to accomplish a job function in a manner that is different from the way an employee who is not disabled may accomplish the same function.

Q. What is “reasonable accommodation?”

A. Reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.

Q. What are some of the accommodations applicants and employees may need?

A. Examples of reasonable accommodation include making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by an individual with a disability; restructuring a job; modifying work schedules; acquiring or modifying equipment; providing qualified readers or interpreters; or appropriately modifying examinations, training, or other programs. Reasonable accommodation also may include reassigning a current employee to a vacant position for which the individual is qualified, if the person is unable to do the original job because of a disability even with an accommodation. However, there is no obligation to find a position for an applicant who is not qualified for the position sought. Employers are not required to lower quality or quantity standards as an accommodation; nor are they obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.

The decision as to the appropriate accommodation must be based on the particular facts of each case. In selecting the particular type of reasonable accommodation to provide, the principal test is that o effectiveness, i.e., whether the accommodation will provide an opportunity for a person with a disability to achieve the same level of performance and to enjoy benefits equal to those of an average, similarly situated person without a disability. However, the accommodation does not have to ensure equal results or provide exactly the same benefits.

Q. When is an employer required to make a reasonable accommodation?

A. An employer is only required to accommodate a “known” disability of a qualified applicant or employee. The requirement generally will be triggered by a request from an individual with a disability, who frequently will be able to suggest an appropriate accommodation. Accommodations must be made on an individual basis, because the nature and extent of a disabling condition and the requirements of a job will vary in each case. If the individual does not request an accommodation, the employer is not obligated to provide one except where an individual’s known disability impairs his/her ability to know of, or effectively communicate a need for, an accommodation that is obvious to the employer. If a person with a disability requests, but cannot suggest, an appropriate accommodation, the employer and the individual should work together to identify one. There are also many public and private resources that can provide assistance without cost.

Q. What are the limitations on the obligation to make a reasonable accommodation?

A. The individual with a disability requiring the accommodation must be otherwise qualified, and the disability must be known to the employer. In addition, an employer is not required to make an accommodation if it would impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business. “Undue hardship” is defined as an “action requiring significant difficulty or expense” when considered in light of a number of factors. These factors include the nature and cost of the accommodation in relation to the size, resources, nature, and structure of the employer’s operation. Undue hardship is determined on a case-by-case basis. Where the facility making the accommodation is part of a larger entity, the structure and overall resources of the larger organization would be considered, as well as the financial and administrative relationship of the facility to the larger organization. In general, a larger employer with greater resources would be expected to make accommodations requiring greater effort or expense than would be required of a smaller employer with fewer resources.

If a particular accommodation would be an undue hardship, the employer must try to identify another accommodation that will not pose such a hardship. Also, if the cost of an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer, the individual with a disability should be given the option of paying that portion of the cost which would constitute an undue hardship or providing the accommodation.

Q. Must an employer modify existing facilities to make them accessible?

A. The employer’s obligation under title I is to provide access for an individual applicant to participate in the job application process, and for an individualemployee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his/her job, including access to a building, to the work site, to needed equipment, and to all facilities used by employees. For example, if an employee lounge is located in a place inaccessible to an employee using a wheelchair, the lounge might be modified or relocated, or comparable facilities might be provided in a location that would enable the individual to take a break with co-workers. The employer must provide such access unless it would cause an undue hardship.

Under title I, an employer s not required to make its existing facilities accessible until a particular applicant or employee with a particular disability needs an accommodation, and then the modifications should meet that individual’s work needs. However, employers should consider initiating changes that will provide general accessibility, particularly for job applicants, since it is likely that people with disabilities will be applying for jobs. The employer does not have to make changes to provide access in places or facilities that will not be used by that individual for employment-related activities or benefits.

Q. Can an employer be required to reallocate an essential function of a job to another employee as a reasonable accommodation?

A. No. An employer is not required to reallocate essential functions of a job as a reasonable accommodation.

Q. Can an employer be required to modify, adjust, or make other reasonable accommodations in the way a test is given to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability?

A. Yes. Accommodations may be needed to assure that tests or examinations measure the actual ability of an individual to perform job functions rather than reflect limitations caused by the disability. Tests should be given to people who have sensory, speaking, or manual impairments in a format that does not require the use of the impaired skill, unless it is a job-related skill that the test is designed to measure.

Q. Can an employer maintain existing production/performance standards for an employee with a disability?

A. An employer can hold employees with disabilities to the same standards of production/performance as other similarly situated employees without disabilities for performing essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation. An employer also can hold employees with disabilities to the same standards of production/performance as other employees regarding marginal functions unless the disability affects the person’s ability to perform those marginal functions. If the ability to perform marginal functions is affected by the disability, the employer must provide some type of reasonable accommodation such as job restructuring but may not exclude an individual with a disability who is satisfactorily performing a jobs essential functions.

Q. Can an employer establish specific attendance and leave policies?

A. An employer can establish attendance and leave policies that are uniformly applied to all employees, regardless of disability, but may not refuse leave needed by an employee with a disability if other employees get such leave. An employer also may be required to make adjustments in leave policy as a reasonable accommodation. The employer is not obligated to provide additional paid leave, but accommodations may include leave flexibility and unpaid leave.

A uniformly applied leave policy does not violate the ADA because it has a more severe effect on an individual because of his/her disability. However, if an individual with a disability requests a modification of such a policy as a reasonable accommodation, an employer may be required to provide it, unless it would impose an undue hardship.

Q. Can an employer consider health and safety when deciding whether to hire an applicant or retain an employee with a disability?

A. Yes. The ADA permits employers to establish qualification standards that will exclude individuals who pose a direct threat — i.e., a significant risk of substantial harm — to the health or safety of the individual or of others, if that risk cannot be eliminated or reduced below the level of a oedirect threatî by reasonable accommodation. However, an employer may not simply assume that a threat exists; the employer must establish through objective, medically supportable methods that there is significant risk that substantial harm could occur in the workplace. By requiring employers to make individualized judgments based on reliable medical or other objective evidence rather than on generalizations, ignorance, fear, patronizing attitudes, or stereotypes, the ADA recognizes the need to balance the interests of people with disabilities against the legitimate interests of employers in maintaining a safe workplace.

Q. Are applicants or employees who are currently illegally using drugs covered by the ADA?

A. No. Individuals who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs are specifically excluded from the definition of a “qualified individual with a disability” protected by the ADA when the employer takes action on the basis of their drug use.

Q. Is testing for the illegal use of drugs permissible under the ADA?

A. Yes. A test for the illegal use of drugs is not considered a medical examination under the ADA; therefore, employers may conduct such testing of applicants or employees and make employment decisions based on the results. The ADA does not encourage, prohibit, or authorize drug tests.

If the results of a drug test reveal the presence of a lawfully prescribed drug or other medical information, such information must be treated as a confidential medical record.

Q. Are alcoholics covered by the ADA?

A. Yes. While a current illegal user of drugs is not protected by the ADA if an employer acts on the basis of such use, a person who currently uses alcohol is not automatically denied protection. An alcoholic is a person with a disability and is protected by the ADA if s/he is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. An employer may be required to provide an accommodation to an alcoholic. However, an employer can discipline, discharge or deny employment to an alcoholic whose use of alcohol adversely affects job performance or conduct. An employer also may prohibit the use of alcohol in the workplace and can require that employees not be under the influence of alcohol.

Q. Does the ADA override Federal and State health and safety laws?

A. The ADA does not override health and safety requirements established under other Federal laws even if a standard adversely affects the employment of an individual with a disability. If a standard is required by another Federal law, an employer must comply with it and does not have to show that the standard is job related and consistent with business necessity. For example, employers must conform to health and safety requirements of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, an employer still has the obligation under the ADA to consider whether there is a reasonable accommodation, consistent with the standards of other Federal laws, that will prevent exclusion of qualified individuals with disabilities who can perform jobs without violating the standards of those laws. If an employer can comply with both the ADA and another Federal law, then the employer must do so.

The ADA does not override State or local laws designed to protect public health and safety, except where such laws conflict with the ADA requirements. If there is a State or local law that would exclude an individual with a disability from a particular job or profession because of a health or safety risk, the employer still must assess whether a particular individual would pose a “direct threat” to health or safety under the ADA standard. If such a “direct threat” exists, the employer must consider whether it could be eliminated or reduced below the level of a “direct threat” by reasonable accommodation. An employer cannot rely on a State or local law that conflicts with ADA requirements as a defense to a charge of discrimination.

Q. How does the ADA affect workers’ compensation programs?

A. Only injured workers who meet the ADA’s definition of an “individual with a disability” will be considered disabled under the ADA, regardless of whether they satisfy criteria for receiving benefits under workers’ compensation or other disability laws. A worker also must be “qualified” (with or without reasonable accommodation) to be protected by the ADA. Work-related injuries do not always cause physical or mental impairments severe enough to “substantially limit” a major life activity. Also, many on-the-job injuries cause temporary impairments which heal within a short period of time with little or no long-term or permanent impact. Therefore, many injured workers who qualify for benefits under workers’ compensation or other disability benefits laws may not be protected by the ADA. An employer must consider work-related injuries on a case-by-case basis to know if a worker is protected by the ADA.

An employer may not inquire into an applicant’s workers’ compensation history before making a conditional offer of employment. After making a conditional job offer, an employer may inquire about a person’s workers compensation history in a medical inquiry or examination that is required of all applicants in the same job category. However, even after a conditional offer has been made, an employer cannot require a potential employee to have a medical examination because a response to a medical inquiry (as opposed to results from a medical examination) shows a previous on-the-job injury unless all applicants in the same job category are required to have an examination. Also, an employer may not base an employment decision on the speculation that an applicant may cause increased workers’ compensation costs in the future. However, an employer may refuse to hire, or may discharge an individual who is not currently able to perform a job without posing a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others, if the risk cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.

An employer may refuse to hire or may fire a person who knowingly provides a false answer to a lawful post-offer inquiry about his/her condition or worker’s compensation history.

An employer also may submit medical information and records concerning employees and applicants (obtained after a conditional job offer) to state workers’ compensation offices and “second injury” funds without violating ADA confidentiality requirements.

Q. What is discrimination based on “relationship or association” under the ADA?

A. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on relationship or association in order to protect individuals from actions based on unfounded assumptions that their relationship to a person with a disability would affect their job performance, and from actions caused by bias or misinformation concerning certain disabilities. For example, this provision would protect a person whose spouse has a disability from being denied employment because of an employer’s unfounded assumption that the applicant would use excessive leave to care for the spouse. It also would protect an individual who does volunteer work for people with AIDS from a discriminatory employment action motivated by that relationship or association.

Q. How are the employment provisions enforced?

A. The employment provisions of the ADA are enforced under the same procedures now applicable to race, color, sex, national origin, and religious discrimination under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Complaints regarding actions that occurred on or after July 26, 1992, may be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or designated State human rights agencies. Available remedies will include hiring, reinstatement, promotion, back pay, front pay, restored benefits, reasonable accommodation, attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees, and court costs. Compensatory and punitive damages also may be available in cases of intentional discrimination or where an employer fails to make a good faith effort to provide a reasonable accommodation.

Q. What financial assistance is available to employers to help them make reasonable accommodations and comply with the ADA?

A. A special tax credit is available to help smaller employers make accommodations required by the ADA. An eligible small business may take a tax credit of up to $5,000 per year for accommodations made to comply with the ADA. The credit is available for one-half the cost of “eligible access expenditures” that are more than $250 but less than $10,250.

A full tax deduction, up to $15,000 per year, also is available to any business for expenses of removing qualified architectural or transportation barriers. Expenses covered include costs of removing barriers created by steps, narrow doors, inaccessible parking spaces, restroom facilities, and transportation vehicles. Additional information discussing the tax credits and deductions is contained in the Department of Justice’s ADA Tax Incentive Packet for Businesses available from the ADA Information Line, see page 29. Information about the tax credit and tax deduction can also be obtained from a local IRS office, or by contacting the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service.

Q. What are an employer‘s recordkeeping requirements under the employment provisions of the ADA?

A. An employer must maintain records such as application forms submitted by applicants and other records related to hiring, requests for reasonable accommodation, promotion, demotion, transfer, lay-off or termination, rates of pay or other terms of compensation, and selection for training or apprenticeship for one year after making the record or taking the action described (whichever occurs later). If a charge of discrimination is filed or an action is brought by EEOC, an employer must save all personnel records related to the charge until final disposition of the charge.

Q. Does the ADA require that an employer post a notice explaining its requirements?

A. The ADA requires that employers post a notice describing the provisions of the ADA. It must be made accessible, as needed, to individuals with disabilities. A poster is available from EEOC summarizing the requirements of the ADA and other Federal legal requirements for nondiscrimination for which EEOC has enforcement responsibility. EEOC also provides guidance on making this information available in accessible formats for people with disabilities.

Q. What resources does the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have available to help employers and people with disabilities understand and comply with the employment requirements of the ADA?

A. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has developed several resources to help employers and people with disabilities understand and comply with the employment provisions of the ADA.

Resources include:

A Technical Assistance Manual that provides “how-to” guidance on the employment provisions of the ADA as well as a resource directory to help individuals find specific information.

A variety of brochures, booklets, and fact sheets.

For information on how to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,

ADA Information Line
U.S. Department of Justice

For ADA documents and questions

800-514-0301 (voice)
800-514-0383 (TTY)

www.ada.gov

What can YOU do?

What can you do?

It’s a simple question that can be answered in any number of ways. And yet it isn’t asked nearly enough in regards to people living with a disability and employment options. People experiencing disabilities can do much more than any of us often imagine, that is, when given the encouragement and opportunity to stretch themselves and learn. And this shouldn’t be much of a surprise given that is all any of us needs to succeed.

When those experiencing disabilities can live up to their true potential and actively pursue the jobs of their dreams and abilities, everybody wins.

What can you do?

When people are willing to become mentors and show others how to become better versions of themselves and learn what they’re good at, everybody wins.

What can you do?

When people who own or manage businesses take a leap of faith and challenge themselves by thinking outside the box to see where they can utilize the skills and abilities of people with a barrier to employment, everybody wins.

What can you do?

And when any of us really looks at another human being and recognizes and allows for the similarities AND the differences, we all win.

What can you do?

Everyone wins, because everyone is included and made to feel valued, important, needed, useful, involved and a part of something bigger than themselves.

We know that it isn’t always easy to figure out how to switch gears and try on a new way of thinking, that’s where we at Pearl Buck Center Community Employment Services can assist and guide you along the way. You don’t have to do this all alone, we’d be more than happy to help figure out how best to implement and utilize a new employee, how to go about mentoring someone who is interested in your field of work or find a place of employment that fits your abilities.

Who I Am Poster; Vander Cherry
Who I Am Poster; Vander Cherry

Check out The Campaign for Disability Employment Public Service Announcements asking this very same question…What Can YOU Do?

The Campaign for Disability Employment is a collaborative effort to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace. In business, the investment that drives innovation is talent. The knowledge, skills and abilities employees bring to work each day are by far the assets that yield the most output over the long term. Whether good economic times or bad, it’s the organizations that know how to identify and recognize talent that are most likely to succeed. Through its national public education effort, What Can YOU Do?,The Campaign for Disability Employment reinforces that people with disabilities want to work and that their talents and abilities positively impact businesses both financially and organizationally

If after watching you are compelled to really investigate What can You do? contact Pearl Buck Center Community Employment Services and together we can figure it out. [pbc.community.employment@gmail.com]

BECAUSE

I CAN

I AM

http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org/blog/index.php/what-can-employers-do/

Job Seeker: Barbie Bodin

Barbie is a peppy woman who is eager to put her 4 years of dishwashing experience to use. Barbie worked at Mackinaw’s Restaurant in Washington prior to moving to Springfield. She washed dishes, did some light food prep and cleaned floors while working at Mackinaw’s. When asked what she liked about that job, Barbie responded with “It was easy, I loved doing it, it’s Fun! I like to get it done.”

Barbie says that she is very positive- “I always see the good side”, organized-“I keep all my things in their place”, and a hard worker- ” I just want the job done. I don’t mess around. I’ll do what needs to be done without attitude.”

Barbie has an updated Oregon food handlers’ card and is ready to get to work when she isn’t out hitting the pavement looking for work on her own or with her job developer, Barbie is volunteering at the United Methodist Church, serving food to the homeless.

If you feel that you have room for this outgoing, hardworking, go-getter on your team give Doris Steele a call at (541)484.4666 or email her; doris.steele@pearlbuckcenter.com

Hired!

 

Job Seeker: Kirk Hatalla

Kirk is a quiet young man who lives with his family in the outskirts of Springfield. He is interested in finding part-time work in either the  janitorial or production arena. His dream job would be working in housekeeping in a hotel.

Kirk has been working at Pearl Buck Center in the spice room packaging Red Ape products and has found that he really likes this type of work.

The main reason that Kirk is seeking work is to gain experience and earn some money, but mostly he wants to stay busy so as to not be bored. He feels that he is a hard worker, with the intent to do the best that he can to ensure that the job gets done. Kirk has enjoyed working alone in the past because it is less distracting, however, he has thrived working in the Pearl Buck Spice room with his co-workers, making friends and working hard to get the tasks completed.

If you feel that Kirk would fit in with your organization or know of a place that would benefit from having Kirk as an employee, please contact Doris Steele; doris.steele@pearlbuckcenter.com

Kirk's PosterHired!

A Letter from our newest Business Partner

tamarack-pool-01-150x150

We are so excited about our newest partnership with the South Hills Center located in the Tamarack Building and so are they! Here is a letter that was sent out to their community.

Hi Folks,

This week begins a partnership with Pearl Buck Center to provide janitorial staffing at South Hills Center [at the Tamarack Building].

Their mission:

“Pearl Buck Center offers people with disabilities and their families quality choices and supports to achieve their goals.”

We are happy to welcome Cody Grimes and staffing coach Linda Cox to the SHC Community.

Cody and Linda

Cody is originally from Chicago and moved to the Eugene-Springfield area about four years ago. He has been working at the Pearl Buck production facility for the last 1.5 years and also has experience working at a local auto-body shop. He is a Duck fan and a Dallas Cowboy fan. He’ll be working evenings after the last yoga class ends on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights.

Linda will be offering coaching assistance for Cody while he works. She is a Job Developer at Pearl Buck Center working with a variety of different people in the program. She was born in Springfield and has lived here most of her life. Linda has a daughter and a 5 year old grandson. She’s a Duck fan, enjoys crafting and worked previously at H&R Block for about 10 years.

Thanks for being part of the team Cody & Linda! The work you do is important for keeping this facility available for all the many people we serve.

Welcome aboard!

KASSY DAGGETT • kassydaggett.com

Rozek & Daggett, LLC • Coaching • Consulting • Workshops • vrkd.com

South Hills Center, LLC • General Manager • southhillscenter.com

Mail: PO Box 518, Marcola, OR 97454 Cell541-912-4940 Desk541-484-6100

If you are interested in partnering up with Pearl Buck Center’s Employment Services, give us a call and let us know. We would welcome your interest and ideas.  pbc.community.employment@gmail.com

Current Job Seekers Display

PBC Poster 3

Here is a sampling from the great pool of job applicants we have seeking jobs in the community.We represent people with a wide range of abilities and interests. Many of our job seekers are looking for part-time work, anywhere from 10 to 25 hours a week, but don’t worry we also have people who are interested in full time work as well. We’re sure to have someone who will fit your needs.

If you are looking for great hires, give our Community Employment department a call at 541-484-4666  to find a prescreened match! We would also love to have you come by for a tour or a chat and get the full effect of the our display for yourself,…we’ll make tea!

Dan's PosterKamren's PosterThomas' Posterposter_from_postermywall3poster_from_postermywall4Barbie's PosterSamuel's PosterNick's PosterMichael's PosterAlex's Posterposter_from_postermywall2Sean's PosterJacob's PosterLonny's Poster

Cody's Poster3.0poster_from_postermywallKirk's PosterJustin's PosterJP's poster

dis·a·bil·i·ty

istockphoto-purchased2
dis·a·bil·i·ty
ˌ/disəˈbilədē/
noun
  1. a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.
    synonyms: handicap, disablement, incapacity, impairment, infirmity, defect,abnormality,…

    • a disadvantage or handicap, especially one imposed or recognized by the law.
      “he had to quit his job and go on disability”  or “she can’t work because of her disability

When you think of it, the Webster definition is limiting and implies that a person is incapable of doing much of anything, let alone working for a living. It is often through this filter or lens that we see people who are labeled – Disabled. This is perplexing, since nearly 1 in 5 ( that’s 45 million) Americans has a ‘disability’. The fact is people with disabilities are ordinary individuals striving to live ordinary lives, the same as anyone. Nearly half of us even know someone with a disability, and if you know someone who is labeled such, you know they’re so much more than the challenges they face. They’re our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, and consumers; they’re also a significant portion of the nation’s unemployed, with great and diverse untapped potential.

“No disability or dictionary out there, is capable of clearly defining who we are as a person.”– Robert M Hensel

For over 60 years, Pearl Buck Center has supported individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers and achieve their goals.  Repeatedly, we have found that a community is always stronger when there’s a place for everyone to make positive contributions. We’re leading efforts to re-think how people with disabilities can strengthen our local business community. We believe that with the right planning and supports, everyone can work. And that’s because we recognize this crucial fact:

Businesses don’t employ people for their disability; they employ them for their abilities.

The challenge is that many people with disabilities may not match a standard job description preventing businesses from accessing real talents that are worth their investment. This is where Customized Employment comes in.

What is Customized Employment? The Oregon Department of Employment Policy defines it as such;

Customized employment is a flexible process designed to personalize the employment relationship between a job candidate and an employer in a way that meets the needs of both. It is based on an individualized match between the strengths, conditions, and interests of a job candidate and the identified business needs of an employer. Customized Employment utilizes an individualized approach to employment planning and job development — one person at a time . . . one employer at a time. Customized employment will often take the form of:

  • Task reassignment: Some of the job tasks of incumbent workers are reassigned to a new employee. This reassignment allows the incumbent worker to focus on the critical functions of his/her job (i.e., primary job responsibilities) and complete more of the central work of the job. Task reassignment typically takes the form of job creation, whereby a new job description is negotiated based on current, unmet workplace needs.
  • Job carving: An existing job description is modified — containing one or more, but not all, of the tasks from the original job description.
  • Job sharing: Two or more people share the tasks and responsibilities of a job based on each other’s strengths.

‘We all customize our jobs, however, the typical job-seeker customizes after being hired and many people with significant disabilities will succeed only if the customization occurs prior to beginning work’ -Griffin Hamm

It really doesn’t take much to customize a job to fit the needs of a potential employee or the needs of an employer. Often it just takes thinking outside the box and getting creative. Perhaps even thinking how to improve a business’s bottom line, by taking some of the more mundane or simple tasks from experienced workers, freeing up their time to tackle what they are really being paid to accomplish and giving those extra bothersome or repetitive tasks to someone who is only seeking a few hours a day.

People with disabilities desire to be part of the mainstream workforce, working alongside people in their communities. When businesses hire people with disabilities, the benefit shows up on their bottom line and in improvements in the culture and the personality of their business. This is true for small businesses as well as large national corporations. In fact, it holds true for all industries – from services to manufacturing. We all share in the responsibility to move ahead – it is a journey that business, government, agencies, and families are going to need to travel together.

Employing people with disabilities is not only the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. Together, we can make a difference so that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.

And with the prevailing winds of change, perhaps it’s time to change the definition of disability to;

dis·a·bil·i·ty
ˌ/disəˈbilədē/
verb

1.  The inability to see ability in another being.

Michael’s story: a graphic novel

Our community employment team is in the process of revamping our promotional materials. Here is the second brochure in a series of three. We know, we started in the middle – just like Star Wars,…this is going to be epic!

Let us know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!

~ “The Job Squad”

NBC Nightly News spotlight on inclusive employment

NBC Nightly News recently broadcast a story about The Prospector Theater, a movie house in Ridgefield, Connecticut that employs 80 people–most of whom happen to experience some sort of disability.  Here’s a link to the video: http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/this-boss-gives-the-disabled-what-she-says-they-want-most–jobs-404479043807

 

Employment

Pretty amazing, right?  If you’d like to see more, The Prospector’s own site has an incredible collection of employment success story videos, and they’re definitely worth a watch.  Here’s a link: http://www.prospectortheater.org/video-1/

The Prospector offers its employees an opportunity to build skills and gain experience, but it also gives them something many of us may take for granted: the chance to define themselves by their abilities, and to do so within the day-to-day activity of their community.

We’ve seen great examples of businesses like The Prospector in other industries, too–for instance, Portland’s Happy Cup Coffee Company (http://happycup.com/about/), and Eugene’s own Reality Kitchen (http://www.realitykitchen.org).  Have an idea about somewhere else you could see a program like this working in our community?  Let’s talk!  Start a conversation with us in the comments section, or email us at pbc.community.employment@gmail.com.

Employment Success Story: Togo’s Sandwiches

Our friends at KEZI recently aired a story profiling some of Pearl Buck’s successful partnerships with local businesses.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Here’s a link to the full story, on the KEZI site: http://www.kezi.com/pearl-buck-and-the-community/

Togo’s Sandwiches is one of the businesses featured in that video, and lobby attendants Paul Koerner and Sheri Clack are a major part of what’s made our partnership with them such a success.  Both add real value to Togo’s business by offering stellar customer service, improving operational efficiency, and contributing to positive overall workplace morale.  Togo’s manager Lionel Jeffery sat down with us a few months ago for a brief interview about his experience working with Paul and Pearl Buck:

Lionel collaborated with Pearl Buck’s community employment program to match Togo’s needs with Paul and Sheri’s strengths.  We believe in this custom-fit employment model because we’ve seen it work time and again, in a diverse variety of industries.  If you’re interested in learning more, please get in touch; our community employment team would be happy to tell you more about what we do, and how you can get involved.  We’ll be introducing the team over the next several monthly posts, so stay tuned!