The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) monthly newsletter has a new feature called Spotlight. In this section, EARN will recognize employers’ successful practices for outreach, recruitment, hiring, and accommodating workers with disabilities. EARN invites employers who would like to highlight their effective practices in employing people with disabilities to submit articles for future issues of the EARN newsletter. This month, EARN spotlights 3M for engaging their employees to foster inclusiveness throughout the company.
3M: ENGAGING EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES TO RECRUIT A DIVERSE WORKFORCE
3M values its diverse workforce as a strong component for the growth of its business globally. They know that a diverse global workforce helps generate more ideas and innovative solutions. Since more than 60% of 3M’s sales come from outside the United States, they rely on employees who understand the needs of diverse customers. 3M values and utilizes its Employee Resource Groups/Affinity Groups as diversity champions, educational resources, community outreach participants, and supporters of personal and professional development. Members of the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) also participate in their Human Resources Advisory Committee on Diversity. This Committee promotes understanding and respect for differences among employees, and fosters inclusiveness throughout the company.
Their disability ERG, the Disability Advisory Committee, serves as an advisor to 3M and a resource for employees and their families on issues affecting people with disabilities, including disability awareness and education, accessibility, accommodations and employee recruitment and retention. The Disability Advisory Committee hosts outside speakers and in partnership with the Minnesota Business Leadership Network, members participate in Disability Mentoring Day and Career Fair for high school and college students and graduates with disabilities. Members also help 3M recruit talented candidates with disabilities and partner with 3M scientists to bring science to middle school girls with disabilities at a local camp.
FMLA ADVISOR IS LATEST IN ‘ELAWS’ SERIES
The Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses, or “elaws,” were developed by the Labor Department to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws and resources. The most recent advisor reflects updated regulations and amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act. The online resource helps clarify which employers are required to provide FMLA leave as well as which employees are entitled to these benefits. Additionally, the FMLA advisor outlines valid reasons for leave, employer and employee notice requirements, and other responsibilities under the law. For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/elaws/.
MAKING THE DECISION TO DISCLOSE
There is a common but not unfounded fear that revealing a disability may jeopardize being selected for a position or promotion, or result in differential treatment in the workplace. A new report takes a deeper look into the disclosure challenges people with disabilities face. Cornell University and the American Association of People with Disabilities surveyed 780 people about their motivations—and barriers—to sharing their disability at work. Click here to read more.
For more information on cyber disclosure for youth with disabilities, click here.
GE PLANS TO HIRE 5000 VETERANS OVER NEXT FIVE YEARS
At a four-day conference in February, GE announced new commitments to strengthen America’s global competitiveness. GE plans to launch several new initiatives, including hiring 5,000 veterans over the next five years and sponsoring a “Hire Our Heroes” partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help veterans integrate into the civilian workforce. Click here to read more.
THE ARC BRINGS ISSUES FACING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TO THE WHITE HOUSE
Leaders from The Arc from across the nation met with senior White House officials last month to discuss issues facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Topics addressed ranged from Medicaid to education to community living and employment. The session included an unannounced visit from President Barack Obama who expressed his continued support and commitment to people with disabilities. Click here to read more.
*In February 2012, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 25.2% for persons with disabilities compared with 69.8% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 44.6%, not seasonally adjusted.
HELPING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND THE 2013 BUDGET
In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama laid out a blueprint for building the American economy. The budget targets scarce federal resources to areas critical to growing the economy and restoring middle-class security, and centers on the idea that America does best when everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. Read more on how the budget will expand opportunities for people with disabilities.
EEOC GIVES GUIDANCE ON DEGREE HIRING REQUIREMENTS
Employers often place value on educational degrees when hiring. But disqualifying applicants solely on the basis of an educational degree is not always defensible to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and courts. The EEOC recently issued guidance to employers about this often scrutinized issue, clarifying that job qualification standards must be job-related and that accommodating an applicant only applies when the applicant’s disability made it impossible to earn a diploma. Click here to read more.
ODEP ISSUES FRAMEWORK FOR DESIGNING & IMPLEMENTING ACCESSIBLE STRATEGIC PLANS FOR INFORMATION COMMUNICATION & TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
ODEP has released a paper designed to help employers develop a corporate-wide, comprehensive strategy for adopting and implementing accessible ICT plans. The paper describes actions that can be taken to implement policies, practices, and procedures for accessible technology in the workplace and offers insights on accessibility issues while outlining solutions through a step-by-step guide. Click here to read more.
ADA REGULATIONS: HOW TO GET YOUR WEBSITE IN COMPLIANCE
Federal officials recently announced plans to enforce new ADA regulations for website accessibility. In a BLR webinar titled “Is Your Website ADA-Compliant? How to Prepare for the Newest Enforcement Push”, experts offer guidance on factors such as captioning, color contrast, screen reading, alternative text of images, etc. Click here to learn more about ADA requirements as they relate to websites.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYERS HIRING VETERANS RISES, YET ASSISTANCE STILL NEEDED
A majority of employers, some 64 percent, have hired veterans during the past 36 months, an increase over the 53 percent reported in the previous 36-month period, according to a survey released Feb. 24 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM said although more than 6 in 10 organizations reported hiring military veterans during the past three years, the number could hit 10 in 10 only if the civilian and military sectors widely understood each other’s job skills jargon. Click here to read more.
IRS GIVES BUSINESSES UNTIL JUNE 19 TO FILE CERTIFICATION FORM FOR VETERANS TAX CREDITS
Employers that hired qualified veterans on or after November 22, 2011 and those that will hire before May 22, 2012 will satisfy requirements for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Work Opportunity Tax Credits if the certification forms are submitted no later than June 19, 2012 the IRS announced in Notice 2012-13. Click here to read more.
EARN is funded by the
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy