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Welcome to AskEARN’s new website. As we transition to our new site, you can still visit EARN’s previous site.

About EARN

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free resource that helps employers tap the benefits of disability diversity by educating public- and private-sector organizations on ways to build inclusive workplace cultures.

Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities — and how EARN’s resources can help.

    Phases of Employment

  • Recruit

    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • Hire

    Identify people who have the skills and attributes for the job.

  • Retain

    Keep talented employees with disabilities, including those who acquire them on the job.

  • Advance

    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our e-blasts and monthly e-newsletter, which will connect you to upcoming events, developing news and promising practices in the world of disability diversity and inclusion. And don’t forget to follow EARN on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Disability Etiquette

A basic understanding of disability etiquette can help make employees feel more comfortable when interacting with coworkers and supervisors with disabilities and can help prevent awkward situations. Good disability etiquette can also expand business opportunities and help organizations serve customers more effectively.

Disability etiquette refers to respectful communication and interaction with people who have disabilities.  The principles of disability etiquette are fairly simple. First and foremost, rely on common sense to guide your interactions with people with disabilities and behave in the same courteous and respectful way with individuals with disabilities that you would with anyone.

Beyond that, there are several simple steps everyone can take to ensure appropriate disability etiquette:

  • Use “people first” language which recognizes that individuals are more than their disabilities.
  • Don’t ask questions about a person’s disability unless it is brought up by the individual.
  • If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for instructions.
  • Speak directly to the person.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are unsure of what to do.
  • When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who have artificial limbs can usually shake hands. (Shaking hands with the left hand is also an acceptable greeting.)
  • Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names only when extending the same familiarity to all others.

A number of resources can assist employers to educate employees about disability etiquette, and brushing up on their own skills. These include a variety of disability etiquette resources from the Job Accommodation Network as well as its training module titled Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence and Competence. Local disability service providers or Centers for Independent Living are also often available to provide in-person training on disability etiquette.

Phases of Employment

Recruit Hire Retain Advance

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