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ADA Training in the Workplace

by David Khan on 12/31/2003
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In 1990, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This federal legislation prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and all supervisors and managers responsible for hiring, firing, and accommodating employees should be trained in ADA compliance.

Minimally, training should:

  • describe the ADA and the characteristics that qualify an individual to be protected under it;
  • address reasonable accommodation and specify the employers' responsibility to accommodate for disabled employees;
  • identify ways in which to avoid claims attributed to violations of the ADA; and
  • emphasize the company's obligations to disabled applicants and current staff.

More intricate training should be provided dependent upon an individual's specific job functions. In addition to understanding the fundamental principles, particular employees must also be aware of changes to the ADA.

These individuals may also need to be knowledgeable on other laws and regulations that pertain to employees with disabilities, such as sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination affecting people with disabilities in the federal sector; the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows employees the opportunity to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons; and workers' compensation.

Training Delivery
Options for training include seminars, online training, videotapes, and other methods; however, training should not be an isolated one-time event. Training needs to be a part of the organization's long-term training strategy. Employers and employment law specialists should reinforce the training with periodic reminders regarding compliance standards and methods. These reminders can be delivered in the form of company newsletters, meetings, workshops, assessments, posters, and handouts.

Like all other training that occurs, keeping track of who has participated in particular training programs is recommended. This documentation should include content, training dates, and attendee names. It can take the form of training program sign-in sheets, the retention of training aids and handouts, and/or signed confidentiality statements acknowledging receipt and understanding of the training. This documentation can be either in written or electronic form and should be retained for a minimum of five years. As an additional benefit, online learning management systems facilitate these types of records as they often store all of the necessary information.

It is critical for organizations to develop, implement, and reinforce training practices that are in compliance with the ADA. Those who are not in compliance with the ADA may find themselves faced with civil penalties of up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for any subsequent violation.

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Categories: 2004

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