Managing an Employee with a Disability

Managing your employees requires fair and equal treatment for everyone, but that can seem challenging when you have a disabled employee. While they may require special accommodations to do their jobs, you should expect that employee to meet their obligations once those accommodations have been put into place. This guide can help you feel more comfortable in managing your disabled employees.

Train All Employees About Dealing with Disabled Workers 

As a manager, it is your responsibility to train all employees on treating other workers with disabilities. You should create an environment where bias about disabled counterparts is identified and not tolerated. Your workers should also be trained to help disabled employees in the event of an emergency. 

Set Your Cards on the Table

The onboarding process should involve providing the disabled employee with a written description of their job responsibilities. This should precisely describe the expectations, providing an accurate assessment of how their productivity will be measured. That written description helps employees set a benchmark to measure their job performance.

Ask About Special Accommodations

A disabled employee will likely need special accommodations, such as extra maneuverability for a wheelchair, to fulfill their role. By asking in advance about these requirements, you can plan to provide what the employee will need to perform. If you are traveling outside the office, ask if the property is accessible for your disabled employees. This will give your disabled employee the dignity that he or she deserves. Imagine that your company required you to travel somewhere that your disability prohibited. It would feel awful. As a manager, you need to foresee potential areas that your workers may find uncomfortable.  

Hold Performance of the Disabled Employee to the Same Level

You should expect the same level of performance that you would expect of any other employee once you have made accommodations for the disabled person. If you show leniency to the disabled worker, you may not be managing them to their best potential. You may need to learn a new communication style to engage the disabled worker. Honest feedback is essential because the disabled worker is just as responsible for performance as the non-disabled employee. Accommodations don’t mean lower standards. They level the playing field. 

Encourage Communication

A disabled employee may not adequately estimate their need for special accommodations, so they should feel free to ask about updating their needs. Create a procedure to make these requests. You, or your managers, should advise the employee about this process to feel welcome to communicate their needs.

Consider the Employee’s Needs Confidential

Any documents relating to the employee’s disability should be considered confidential. A separate file should be created, and it should be treated as private and secure as you would treat any employee’s medical record. Any additional documentation that’s created regarding the employee’s disability should be included in the file.

Moving forward, you should expect the disabled employee to meet productivity standards. When there’s an issue with performance, you will have to determine whether the failure results from the individual’s disability or some other cause. If it has been determined to be the result of the disability, any notes relating to the poor performance should be included in the employee’s confidential file. This should consist of any documents related to additional accommodations made to help the employee improve their productivity.

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