Tips for Leadership

  • The content of this message was designed to help employers avoid ADA charges due to managers and supervisors making a mis-step when an employee discloses a disability.
  • Too often, managers don't understand that this disclosure can't be dismissed or ignored. Employers are required to accommodate known disabilities. When the employee discloses a disability to the manager, something needs to happen.
  • Simply having managers listen and respect employees making a disability disclosure can go a long way towards building trust in an organization.
  • This message assumes that managers and supervisors do not make decisions alone about whether an accommodation will be provided or what accommodation will be provided. In the vast majority of workplaces, the manager will make this decision with the assistance of HR or a special accommodation office within the workplace. If this is not the case, managers and supervisors will need more support than is given in this message. Contact the Northeast ADA Center for best practice around accommodating employees with disabilities.

Topic 7. Messages

My employee has a disability. What do I do now?
When an employee at (COMPANY NAME) discloses a disability, do these four things: (1) listen, (2) support, (3) inform, and (4) move it forward.

Listening simply involves giving the employee your full attention when they explain their situation. During this conversation, don't go into the details about their diagnosis or medical condition. Don't make judgements or assumptions. Just listen. Supporting means letting the employee know that their situation will be taken seriously and efforts will be made to enable them to keep being productive when working with the disability. Informing means telling the employee about next steps for both the employer and employee. Moving forward means contacting (CONTACT INFORMATION) to get the accommodation process started.

Want to learn more?

If you want to learn more about this topic, contact the Northeast ADA Center.


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Northeast ADA Center: 1-607-255-6686

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