We all know JJsList.com is a boon for businesses that treat the public, customers, and patrons with disabilities with respect. By registering on JJ’sList, your business positions itself as a company that is friendly and helpful to people with disabilities, their caregivers, friends and family members, encouraging other like-minded (or similarly situated) people to feel comfortable transacting business with you. The fact that your business is listed on JJsList.com drives more and more customers to your business. Another way that businesses can attract even more patrons with disabilities, their friends, family members and/or caregivers is to employ qualified individuals with disabilities. People with disabilities can and want to work.
I recently had the pleasure of witnessing the JJsList.com Disability Awareness Players performing a Disability Awareness Training at the Grayslake Public Library. The product JJsList.com has devised is valuable on so many levels; I have to spread the word. At the outset, the audience is introduced to each of the players, as they give a short biography of themselves. Each is employed either by JJsList.com, another employer or they split time between an employer and JJsList.com. That information, in and of itself is very powerful. The Disability Awareness Players are available to talk to businesses, trade groups and others about “people first” language, interacting with and hiring people with disabilities. Their presentation is interactive, fact-filled, and fun. At the Grayslake Public Library, the comradery shared among those in attendance was palpable. JJ is a wonderful emcee and the players drive home their points with role-play skits that answer questions without preaching. A goal of JJsList.com is to increase the number of people with disabilities who are employed in the community. The Disability Awareness Players are helping in that effort by showing in their skits how an employer can properly interview a candidate. Only qualified individuals with disabilities need be considered. It is the employer’s duty to treat all applicants the same. If the applicant is qualified and can perform the essential functions of the job, the applicant should be considered.
The law (both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act) requires that an employer provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability who may require one to perform the essential functions of the job. Determining what is a reasonable is intended to be an interactive process between the employee and the employer. A request for an accommodation, which would cause significant difficulty or expense would likely cause undue hardship and would not be required. There are clear guidelines that can assist with this determination. Often the accommodations, if required, have no or low cost and are not burdensome to the employer. As readers of the JJsList.com blog, it would come as no surprise that you are aware of the benefits of employing a person with a disability. I encourage you to reach out to JJ and/or the Disability Awareness Players. They have a lot to offer and are a great resource for you. 2015 may be the perfect time for you to hire an individual with a disability.