Accommodating Employees with Disabilities in California e-Learning Course


2 HRCI California Credits/2 SHRM PDCs


According to The Council for Disability Rights, 43 million Americans have physical or mental disabilities. Too often they are excluded from the mainstream of American life by attitudes and inaccessible environments. Sixty-seven percent of all people with disabilities are unemployed, even among college graduates. Each of us has a 20 percent chance of becoming a person with a disability and a 50 percent chance of having a family member with a disability. In 2009, the Center for Personal Assistance Services conducted research in which it determined that in California alone, 71.3% of working-age adults without disabilities are employed, compared to 32.3% of working-age adults with disabilities, 16.6% of working-age adults with daily activity limitations, and 14.6% of working-age adults with self-care limitations. According to the Human Rights Education Associates, there exists a clear relationship between poverty and disability. The risk of impairment is greater for a family that lives in poverty, while and at the same time, a disabled family member places higher demands on the family's resources. Hiring and accommodating disabled workers can offer a number of important economic, legal, public relations and productivity advantages for a business while helping to limit potential liability due to non-compliance.


As an employer, you can take advantage of various government programs that encourage the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities. This will also make you eligible for tax credits that help cover the cost of accommodations for employees with disabilities. To find out more, you should consult with your tax advisor for details. Employers who donít overlook disabled candidates and employees also have a larger talent pool from which to recruit for specialized positions and promotions. The Houston Chronicle reports that from a public relations standpoint, hiring and accommodating disabled workers can create a more positive image for your business. By establishing a reputation as a company that offers a more diverse workforce, you may be more attractive to prospective employees, customers and business associates. Of course, the greatest advantage to employing and accommodating the disabled is limiting liability by complying with the various federal and state laws pertaining to disability in employment.


In California, there are at least eight pieces of legislation regulating the employment of persons with disabilities: 

  • Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

  • Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)

  • ADA Standards for Accessible Design

  • Code of Federal Regulations

  • California Fair Employment & Housing Act

  • California Code of Regulations

  • Rehabilitation Act

  • Affordable Care Act

Wading through the "landmine" of issues surrounding accommodating and engaging disabled employees can seem daunting for most California employers. After all, in the last ten years, it has been the most heavily litigated area of HR law.  Never fear!


In this course, you will learn:

  • What a "disability" actually is

  • The "bundle of rights" afforded disabled employees and persons who "associate" with them

  • What a "reasonable" accommodation is

  • What "essential functions" of a job are and how they impact the obligation to accommodate

  • What you can and cannot ask a disabled employee

  • The steps for effectively responding to a request for an accommodation

  • Best practices for engaging in the "interactive process"

  • What "undue hardship" is

  • Avoiding litigation landmines