Are you compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act? 

Fortunately, the (“EEOC”), which enforces anti-discrimination laws nationwide, provides guidance on this.

Here are the answers to four major concerns regarding the EEOC’s advice on how to handle visual disabilities in the workplace:

1. When can you ask a job applicant or employee questions about visual impairment, and how should you treat voluntary disclosures? 

Do not ask about visual impairments before making a job offer. You may ask if the applicant has an impairment for which they need an accommodation, but only after you offer them a job. You should ask all potential new employees this question at this time, not just those who appear to have an impairment. Be sure to keep any medical or disability-related information confidential, whether disclosed voluntarily or in response to your question.

2. What types of reasonable accommodations might you be required to provide applicants or employees with visual disabilities? 

Anything that will help a qualified applicant or employee with a visual disability enjoy equal employment opportunities and/or perform the essential functions of their job that does not cause an undue hardship to your company is a reasonable accommodation. 

Here’s a non-exhaustive list: 

  • Text-to-speech software or other similar technologies 
  • Braille or large print 
  • Allowing use of guide dogs in the work area 
  • Brighter office lights 
  • Providing a qualified reader 

3. How should you handle safety concerns about applicants and employees with visual disabilities? 

If you truly believe, based on objective evidence, that an applicant or employee’s visual disability poses a safety risk, first assess the potential risk and then determine whether reasonable accommodations will reduce or eliminate the risk. 

Unless you’re a doctor, don’t play one in your workplace. And don’t assume, without objective evidence, that a blind person poses a safety risk. That’s a great way to end up at the wrong end of a lawsuit. 

4. How can you ensure that no employee is harassed because of a visual disability? 

You can help prevent harassment and discrimination in your workplace by implementing and enforcing – from the top down – appropriate policies and conducting regular training. Encourage your employees to report harassment and discrimination, thoroughly investigate those complaints as timely as possible, and take action when necessary to end the bad behavior. 

Keep in mind that these principles apply to all forms of harassment and discrimination, not just those associated with visual disabilities. 

If you’re not sure whether you are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act or your state’s equivalent, or you need help accommodating applicants and employees with visual or other disabilities, schedule a Strategy Session with us today. 

This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not offered as legal advice, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. Consult with competent local employment counsel to determine how the matters addressed here may affect you.

You May Also Like…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This