Staffing Trends: Accommodating “Hidden” Disabilities

Staffing Trends: Accommodating “Hidden” Disabilities

According to reports, disability discrimination charges are increasing at both federal and state levels, especially as regulations continue to change and the list of eligible disabilities expands. While most staffing professionals are consistently reeducating themselves to protect themselves and their operation from an employment practices liability (EPL) lawsuit, not all employees and employers are as up to date with the most recent laws. In some cases, this can lead to heckling, harassment or even unintentional discrimination. This has become increasingly problematic in recent years as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been adapted to include a number of “hidden” disabilities, those not easily identifiable based on an employee’s appearance, behavior or other outward signs of impairment.

The ADA currently prohibits harassment of any employee or applicant based on a present, past, real or perceived mental or physical impairment that is lasting or expected to last longer than 6 months,even if he does not have such an impairment. The law requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, millions of Americans suffer from hidden disabilities or health conditions that can affect their workplace routines. These have been colloquially deemed, “hidden” disabilities. These can include epilepsy, bipolar disorder, arthritis, attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD), lupus and more. It is the responsibility or staffing and human resource professionals to ensure that these individuals are afforded the appropriate accommodations and protected against mistreatment in the workplace. Unfortunately in today’s workplace, if a disability is not observable, many people have difficulty understanding the need for accommodation. In some cases, providing these accommodations to seemingly “fit” employees can create conflict among staff member. It is vital that staffing professionals understand how to properly navigate ADA regulations and the appropriate accommodations when working with employees with extra needs.

Staffing is a dynamic and complex industry with many liability risk exposures. At World Wide Specialty Programs, we provide insurance solutions to help the staffing industry manage their risk exposures and protect their assets. Our complete portfolio of staffing insurance policies is available to agents and brokers to help their staffing clients attain the unique coverage then need. To learn more about our operation, give us a call at (877) 256-0468 or connect with us online today.

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