Thursday, October 1, 2020: The Federal Agencies Celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month and USDOL ODEP Offered Some Practical & Useful Employer Tools
EEOC: The EEOC took the interesting approach of exalting and telling the compelling story of Itzhak Perlman, the famous violinist and musician who had polio from age four. His polio limited Mr. Perlman’s mobility all of his life, even despite his life-long use of leg braces, crutches and other adaptive devices to get around. The EEOC message ended, however, a bit confrontationally on a darker enforcement note:
“The EEOC is here to prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity for all in the workplace for people like Itzhak Perlman and countless other people with disabilities. The EEOC will continue to make sure that employers treat people fairly, so they will see and appreciate their talents.”
ODEP: Adopting a more positive approach trying to harness the good will and high-minded intentions of employers, ODEP provided a web landing page with a collage of information, very practical employer tools, and links to numerous accommodation resources.
Click on the word “ODEP” at the beginning of this paragraph to get to ODEP’s Disability Awareness Month Landing Page.
Then scroll down to the lower left of ODEP’s Landing page and click on the “Plan NDEAM Observances” headline.
Then click on the employers section to find the below introduction exposing you to a day-by-day activity calendar for October and also to activities employers may adopt to support individuals with disabilities and reasonable accommodations throughout the year:
“Activities conducted by individual employers and their employees are an important part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The ideas below are just a few ways they can participate, during October and all year long.”
OFCCP: OFCCP took a “velvet glove” approach, blending the “tough guy” enforcement message from the EEOC with the upbeat “go for it employers” coaching approach of ODEP:
“This October, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) joins the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in celebrating 75 years of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
NDEAM celebrates America’s workers with disabilities and reminds employers of the importance of inclusive hiring practices. This year’s theme is ‘Increasing Access and Opportunity.’
OFCCP works each day to ensure the protection of workers with disabilities in the workplace and that federal contractors understand their obligation to maintain a disability-inclusive workplace. OFCCP provides contractors with meaningful compliance assistance, including technical assistance and guidance on providing accommodations to their workforce and applicants in all aspects required by equal employment opportunity laws. Here are a few of our initiatives that promote disability inclusion and reasonable workplace accommodations.”
With those words, the OFCCP then went on to explain its tools to promote inclusion: “Accommodation Pocket Card” and the use of two of its Focused Review investigative tools (Section 503 Focused Reviews and Accommodation Focused Reviews). Oddly, however, OFCCP’s Web Notice made no reference to its Veterans Focused Reviews (which also examine disability and accommodation issues surrounding Protected Veterans).