Even in the case of healthcare organizations, which face periodic personnel shortages in administrative, clinical and support functions, persons with disabilities may not be sought after as willing, productive resources for employment.Obstacles to including the disabled in the pool of potential employees may be related to misperceptions about accommodation and healthcare costs, productivity losses, reliability of workers, how to access potential candidates and, in many communities, the lack of reliable transportation.While significant infrastructure investments and systematic process modifications may be needed to achieve organizational compliance with regulations such as included in the Americans with Disabilities Act, research suggests that the additional costs to accommodate employees with a disability may be minimal or nonexistent and that people with disabilities have lower rates of turnover and absenteeism (Job Accommodation Network, 2009).However, there is evidence that healthcare organizations may already be more likely to employ those with disabilities than are organizations in other sectors.For families with a loved one with a disability, a church’s lack of inclusion of individuals with disabilities could be a deterrent, Mizrahi says.“Nobody wants to be a part of a congregation that doesn’t welcome one of their family members,” Mizrahi states.The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.
The prevalence of disability among healthcare workers creates a particular responsibility for healthcare executives to be vigilant in ensuring ongoing opportunities for persons with disabilities while fostering an inclusive environment with equitable workplace treatment for all.
There are “a lot of reasons” for exempt organizations to comply with the ADA, says Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President and CEO of Respect Ability, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of people living with disabilities.
Mizrahi says: I’m a firm believer that there’s an equal spark of God in every human being and that every soul is equal and to discriminate against people with disabilities is to deny somebody’s soul, to deny somebody’s faith, to worth and value as they connect to God and spirituality and their faith community.
“One out of every five American has a disability, and most disabilities—most people with disabilities—you can’t see their disability,” Mizrahi explains.
“It is a massive loss for churches if they don’t have people with disabilities in their congregation.” It’s not just these one-in-five Americans who are affected when churches do not comply with ADA guidelines.
“If the property is used or rented by a nonreligious organization,” Anthony explains, then that organization will “have to meet the ADA requirements.” If, for example, a charter school were to use the church facility and make changes to it in order for the school to become ADA compliant, the church’s compliance status would be affected.