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JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. 1 Workplace Trends Teresa Goddard, M.S., JAN Senior Consultant.

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Presentation on theme: "JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. 1 Workplace Trends Teresa Goddard, M.S., JAN Senior Consultant."— Presentation transcript:

1 JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. 1 Workplace Trends Teresa Goddard, M.S., JAN Senior Consultant Elisabeth Simpson, M.S., CRC, JAN Senior Consultant (800) (Voice) (877) (TTY)

2 Objectives  JAN Overview  Top 10 Trends  Accommodation Examples  The Interactive Process  Questions 2 Workplace Trends

3  Over 30 Years of Service  Consultation on:  Job Accommodation  Americans with Disabilities Act / Rehabilitation Act  Entrepreneurship  Experienced  Free  National  Easy to Use  Confidential 3 Workplace Trends

4 Ask JAN and we…  Meet you where you are.  Help meet timelines.  Assist with the interactive process.  Give targeted technical assistance.  Provide comprehensive resources.  Maintain confidentiality. 4 Workplace Trends

5 Top 10 Workplace Trends 1)Open-plan offices 2)White noise systems 3)Automatic air fresheners 4)Mobile device policies 5)Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) 6)Procedural trends 7)Shared workspaces 8)Accommodations related to emotional support animals 9)Information technology department involvement 10)New from EEOC 5 Workplace Trends

6 Trend #1: Open-Plan Offices Open-plan offices, where cubicle walls and private offices are removed, are intended to increase collaboration, communication, and productivity. The non-traditional design can be a cost-cutting strategy and an attempt to limit the perception of a hierarchical corporate structure resulting in a workforce that is more cohesive and efficient. 6 Workplace Trends

7 ADA implications for open-plan offices  Increase distractions  Difficulty concentrating  Limits to how workspace is modified  Air quality  Temperature  Loss of privacy = Accommodations put on display  Assistive technology for phone use  Software used for accessing information on computer  Software used for inputting information on computer  Alternative keyboards, mice, chairs, etc. 7 Workplace Trends

8 Accommodation Example A financial planner with ADD and bipolar disorder had been provided with high cubicle walls and a cubicle door as an accommodation to reduce distractions and allow him a private space for phone calls to his counselor. The employer decided that the office design was going to be changed and everyone was expected to work in an open-plan space. After two weeks of sitting in the open- plan space the employee’s productivity started to drop and he requested to have his old space back as an accommodation. 8 Workplace Trends

9 Trend #2: White Noise Systems White noise systems, sometimes called sound masking systems or speech privacy systems are systems that use a particular type of sound emitted from specially placed speakers to mask unwanted background noise. They are also marketed as a way to limit the distance from which a private or confidential conversation can be overheard which businesses may find desirable as a means of complying with laws requiring privacy safeguards as well as a means for prevention of corporate espionage. 9 Workplace Trends

10 ADA implications for white noise systems Advantages  May reduce distractions from background noise  May help prevent breaches of confidentiality  For large spaces, may be cost effective compared with installation of acoustic paneling etc. Disadvantages  May interfere with functioning of some types of hearing aids  May distract employees with noise sensitivity  May not be effective in masking certain types of sounds or in certain room configurations 10 Workplace Trends

11 Accommodation Example An employee who used hearing aids reported that white noise from his workplace’s sound masking system was interfering with the functioning of his hearing aids and making it difficult for him understand what others were saying in conversations and in meetings. Attending meetings at multiple locations in the facility to obtain information was an important part of the individual’s job. A JAN consultant suggested exploring options for adjusting the sound masking system and seeking input from an audiologist to see whether an FM system might help with hearing during meetings. 11 Workplace Trends

12 Trend #3: Automatic Air Fresheners Automatic air fresheners, along with plug-in air fresheners, are often placed in restrooms, common areas, break rooms, and sometimes throughout a facility. The air freshener might be set to spray at various intervals throughout a day or may be pumped through an HVAC system. 12 Workplace Trends

13 ADA implications for automatic air fresheners  Individuals with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, allergies, or fragrance and chemical sensitivity may experience difficulty breathing, fatigue, migraines, and have difficulty concentrating as a result of exposure to these products.  Exposure can have an impact on productivity if an employee is frequently needing to take leave.  The best way to prevent fragrance sensitivity is to remove, block, or avoid the offending substance. 13 Workplace Trends

14 Accommodation Example An educational consultant with asthma and fragrance sensitivity was hired by a new school district. Every school in the district had automatic air fresheners in the restrooms and hallways. Since being hired the employee had experienced a significant increase in asthma attacks. She thought that the air fresheners could be easily removed but wasn’t sure if this would be an accommodation she could request under the ADA. 14 Workplace Trends

15 Trend #4: Mobile device policies Mobile devices such as tablets, cellular phones, smartphones, smartwatches and other wearable devices can be valuable productivity tools when used appropriately. They can also help employees maintain work life balance, use concentration and relaxation techniques, manage health conditions, and keep in touch with those who support them without tying up office equipment and phone lines. However, devices can also serve as a distraction, or worse pose a risk to data. As a result many employers are developing and updating policies on use of personal devices and governing what types of devices and apps can be purchased for employees. 15 Workplace Trends

16 ADA implications for mobile device policies:  Policies must be applied in a nondiscriminatory way  Employers may need to consider policy modification as an accommodation Ways to employ mobile devices as workplace accommodations:  Using an accessibility feature to make a mobile device accessible  Using an app or accessory as all or part of an accommodation  Using a mobile device as an accommodation 16 Workplace Trends

17 Accommodation Example An HR professional from a school district, was responding to a request by an individual who wanted to use a video phone and Video Relay Service (VRS) to make and receive calls. They had been using a TTY, but it was no longer working. A consultation with IT personnel revealed that it was not possible to install the type of high speed Internet connection needed to use a video phone at the employee's workstation. A JAN consultant suggested exploring whether the employee’s needs could be met using a video relay app and a tablet with a front facing camera. The consultant also discussed that a data plan or other wireless access would be needed, and that appropriate use may need to be discussed. 17 Workplace Trends

18 Trend #5: BYOD BYOD stands for bring your own device. This is a type of IT related policy allowing employees to bring their own privately purchased phones, laptops, tablets and other devices such as wearable technology to work and using these to access networks, information and applications that are owned or otherwise controlled by the employer. This allows employees to do work related activities on their own devices. Variations on this type of policy are sometimes called, bring your own phone (BYOP), bring your own technology (BYOT) and, bring your own PC (BYOPC) 18 Workplace Trends

19 ADA implications for bring your own device programs:  Reimbursement issues may limit participation  Policies must be applied in a nondiscriminatory way  Employers may need to consider policy modification as an accommodation Some policies require that employees be willing to surrender their device in the event of an investigation.  Potential privacy issues  Surrendering a device may be difficult who use their devices for management of medical conditions  Individuals who use their device as a primary means of communication may be temporarily without a way to communicate at work and at home 19 Workplace Trends

20 Accommodation Example A newly hired social worker was successfully using an iPhone that met her accessibility needs in her day to day life. However, the employer wanted her to use a company issued BlackBerry for work related tasks. The employee wanted the employer to issue an iPhone instead of a BlackBerry, or modify their policy to allow her to use her personal iPhone for work. After contacting JAN, the employer learned about accessibility options for BlackBerry phones including a screen reader, and what models were compatible with the BlackBerry Screen Reader. 20 Workplace Trends

21 Trend #6: Procedural Trends Procedural trends refers to the practice of out sourcing absence and leave management programs, as well as accommodation programs, to a third party. The potential benefit is that the on-site Human Resources team does not have to take additional time processing FMLA or ADA paperwork and can focus on employee relations. The third party is responsible for directing the process and being the intermediate contact between the employer entity and the employee. 21 Workplace Trends

22 ADA implications for procedural trends  Additional “hands in the mixing bowl”  Third party should be well informed about the ADA, job descriptions and tasks, and potential overlap of FMLA, ADA, STD, etc.  Can extend time spent on the interactive process.  Equipment purchasing concerns.  Employee confusion on point-of-contact 22 Workplace Trends

23 Accommodation Example An employee was on FMLA leave following carpal tunnel surgery. She had been released to return to her job as an administrative assistant but needed accommodations (e.g. ergonomic assessment, alternative keyboard, mouse). She contacted human resources who told her to contact the company that handled her FMLA leave. When she did, her FMLA point-of-contact referred her to another department. She waited for a return call from the reasonable accommodation team and it took an additional three weeks before the equipment was ordered. 23 Workplace Trends

24 Trend #7: Shared workspaces A shared workspace is one where two or more employees, who primarily work from home, share the same cubicle work workspace when they are required to be on-site or in the office. By sharing one workspace and employer can condense real estate while ensuring that employee’s have a space to work when they are on- site. Employee’s stagger or alternate schedules so that no more than one person designated to the workspace is in the office at the same time or on the same day. 24 Workplace Trends

25 ADA implications for shared workspaces  Continuous changes to space can have an impact on ergonomic desk set-up  May not allow for use of AT  May not allow for specialized office equipment  If AT is used, confidentiality issues may arise 25 Workplace Trends

26 Accommodation Example An employee with a back and neck impairment working for a financial consulting firm was told that the company was mandating work-from-home to reduce costs associated with renting out a large office. All employees would be required to come into the office 2 days per week and share a cubicle with a coworker. The employee was concerned because he used an ergonomic chair and height adjustable desk that were provided as an accommodation and had been adjusted by an ergonomic specialist. 26 Workplace Trends

27 Trend #8: Emotional Support Animals Many employers and employees have expressed confusion about the role of emotional support animals in workplace accommodation. Emotional support animals are companion animals that provide therapeutic benefit to individuals with disabilities. Having the animals present may be helpful in managing or mitigating symptoms of various mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Emotional support animals differ from service animals in that service animals are trained to perform tasks. Some animals may serve as both emotional support animals and service animals. 27 Workplace Trends

28 ADA implications for emotional support animals in the workplace  According to the EEOC, there is no specific definition of service animal under Title I, and Title III regulations do not apply to questions arising under Title I  Employers may need to consider allowing therapy animals and emotional support animals  Employers may need to consider allowing animals other than dogs  Employers have the right to request documentation or demonstration of the need for the service animal, that the service animal is trained, and that the service animal will not disrupt the workplace 28 Workplace Trends

29 Accommodation Example An employee with post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety worked in a call center. He requested to bring in his service dog as a support animal. Because the disability was not obvious, the employer requested that the employee provide medical documentation to show that the dog was needed for this purpose. The employee provided a limited amount of medical information to the employer along with a document from the agency that trained the dog. 29 Workplace Trends

30 Trend #9: IT Involvement Effective engagement of Information Technology (IT) professionals is key to providing effective accommodations not only for computer and telephone related tasks, but also for any accommodation involving computer related equipment or access to the internet. One example is video remote interpreting (VRI) which allows an interpreter to interpret during a live meeting or training without being physically present. 30 Workplace Trends

31 ADA implications for IT involvement:  Internal policies may require that IT be involved in approving certain types of accommodations  Employers need to avoid unnecessary delays  IT may recognize, prevent or address compatibility issues  IT professionals may be helpful in resolving technical issues internally  May benefit from training on AT currently in use  May benefit from training on ADA/accessibility  May reduce implementation costs 31 Workplace Trends

32 Accommodation Example A federal employee with a vision impairment was having difficulty accessing her telephone to make receive and transfer calls. The employer had reached out to both JAN and CAP in search of accommodation ideas. A software-based solution for making receiving and transferring calls via the computer was discussed. However, when the HR person handling the request checked with IT, she learned that the software was not compatible with the employer's phone system. The employer arranged for a representative from the IT department to participate in a conference call to discuss other possible accommodation options. 32 Workplace Trends

33 Trend #10: EEOC Guidance on Interpreters A guidance letter dated October 28, 2013 states, “An interactive process with an employee will help ensure initial selection of an effective accommodation and will be important for reassessing a situation if the employee requests a change to an accommodation that has been provided. For instance, if a particular interpreter is not effective for the individual (e.g., does not use the same type of sign language as the employee, or cannot sign quickly or accurately enough), the employer should arrange to provide an alternative individual as an effective accommodation. Similarly, if a technological device is too slow or experiences frequent disconnections inhibiting communication, the employer should determine whether it needs to be repaired or replaced with a properly functioning or upgraded version, or whether a different accommodation is needed.” 33 Workplace Trends

34 ADA implications for EEOC Guidance on Interpreters Employers may need to consider employees requests for different types of interpreters. In order to provide effective accommodations  May need to consider interpreters with specialized skills or knowledge  In some cases, more than one type of interpreter may be needed in order to meet communication needs  Employers may need to consider accommodations related to video phones and services such as video remote interpreting (VRI) and video relay services (VRS)  Equipment may need to be updated or replaced  Internet connections need to be stable enough to effectively access these services 34 Workplace Trends

35 Accommodation Example An employee of a nonprofit organization serving individuals with developmental disabilities was deaf and was having difficulty passing a test needed to meet the qualification standard. He had received interpreter services during a training related to the test, but did not pass the test. The employee asked to repeat the training with the accommodation of services from a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI). A CDI is an interpreter who is also a person who is deaf or hard of hearing. They often work as a team with a hearing ASL interpreter and have knowledge of deafness and deaf culture. Read more about Certified Deaf Interpreters at: 35 Workplace Trends

36 JAN’s Interactive Process 36 Workplace Trends

37 Why have a process?  Consistency  Successful Accommodations  Good Faith Effort ADA Basics: Interactive Process  Recommended  Shows Good Faith Effort JAN’s Interactive Process at The Interactive Process 37

38 Providing and Maintaining Effective Job Accommodations  Tip 1. Develop Written Policies and Procedures  Why?  Awareness  Consistency  Documentation JAN's Employers' Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA at Five Practical Tips 38

39 Providing and Maintaining Effective Job Accommodations  Tip 2. Train All Managers and Supervisors How to Recognize and Respond to an Accommodation Request  Why?  ADA Compliance  Effective Use of Policies and Procedures  How? Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship ( EEOC) at Five Practical Tips 39

40 Providing and Maintaining Effective Job Accommodations  Tip 3. Have a Process for Determining Effective Accommodations  Where to begin?  Employee  Employee’s Medical Provider  Other Resources JAN’s Medical Inquiry in Response to an Accommodation Request at Five Practical Tips 40

41 Providing and Maintaining Effective Job Accommodations  Tip 4. Monitor and Update Accommodations  Remember to:  Monitor the Effectiveness of the Accommodation  Update Periodically if Needed  Keep the Lines of Communication Open  Document Efforts Five Practical Tips 41

42 Providing and Maintaining Effective Job Accommodations  Tip 5. Train New Employees  Remember to:  Train New Managers and Supervisors  Train New Employees JAN’s Training Hub at 42 Five Practical Tips

43  Over 200 Publications  Comprehensive Website  SOAR  ADA Library  A to Z  JAN on Demand  JAN en Español  JAN Updates  JAN Chat  Social Networks 43 Job Accommodations

44 Thank you for participating! Contact  (800) (V) & (877) (TTY)  AskJAN.org &  (304) via Text  janconsultants via Skype 44


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