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EARN Newsletter: February 2023

Long COVID in the Workplace and More!

EARN in Action

Webinar on Long COVID in the Workplace

Representatives from EARN will join the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) for the webinar  “What You Should Know About the Impact of Long COVID in the Workplace” on March 9, 2023 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Guest speakers will discuss accommodation ideas for workers with Long COVID and tips for navigating the accommodation process , as Long COVID may be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They will also explore resources from EARN and JAN that can help employers and workers understand and accommodate Long COVID symptoms. In addition, Terri Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer of the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC)—an EARN Inclusion@Work Network member—will share findings from DMEC’s new report “Long COVID: Assessing and Managing Workforce Impact.”

Organization-Wide Accessibility Learning Guide

Earlier this month, EARN hosted the webinar “Organization-Wide Accessibility: Everyone Plays a Part.” Featured panelists from Northrop Grumman and Texthelp shared effective strategies for developing and sustaining a fully accessible workplace. The accompanying learning guide offers information to help employers develop an organization-wide accessibility plan and highlights the benefits of doing so. It also provides helpful resources and examples of ways to encourage employees at all levels to embrace a holistic view of accessibility.

FEED Meeting Explores Intersectionality Through a Disability Lens

On February 8, EARN hosted the first Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED) meeting of 2023. The virtual gathering was held in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and its federal partners, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). LaWanda Cook, PhD, CRC, a Senior Extension Associate with Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, gave a presentation on “Intersectionality Through a Disability Lens.” Dr. Cook discussed how intersecting identities inform the experiences and perspectives of people with disabilities from multiply marginalized communities. She also explored how creating welcoming workplaces and implementing culturally relevant outreach efforts help federal employers attract and retain employees from diverse backgrounds.

Disability Employment in the News

Celebrating Black History Month

DOL recently published a blog post in honor of Black History Month authored by Roxann Griffith, a senior policy advisor in ODEP. The blog pays tribute to the many Black leaders who have helped advance progress for other historically marginalized groups, including people with disabilities. As an example, Griffith highlights the achievements of First Sergeant Delphine Metcalf-Foster, United States Army (Ret.), the first Black woman to serve as National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans.

Closing the Employment Gap Through Expanded Broadband Access

A recent article by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) explores the relationship between access to a high-speed internet connection and employment of people with disabilities. “How the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Can Help Close the Employment Gap for People with Disabilities” discusses how the increased reliance on the internet to work remotely, apply for jobs, and participate in professional develop opportunities like virtual trainings can exclude people without reliable broadband access, including people with disabilities. PEAT highlights how expanding access to broadband can create new employment and advancement opportunities for disabled workers.

Understanding Disability Employment Data

To help employers, policymakers, and other stakeholders better understand data related to the employment of people with disabilities, DOL’s ODEP created two interactive data maps. One map illustrates how the employment-population ratio varies by state and race/ethnicity among working-age adults with disabilities. The other shows how median earnings differ by state and sex among the same population. Both maps utilize data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2016-2020.

EEOC Updates Guidance on the ADA & Workers with Hearing Disabilities

The EEOC released updated guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to job applicants and employees who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or have other hearing disabilities. “Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act” includes information on what disability-related questions employers can and cannot ask applicants and employees with hearing disabilities, ideas for reasonable accommodations, and advice for addressing safety concerns related to Deaf and hard of hearing workers.

Advancing State Employment of People with Disabilities

DOL announced it has selected 10 states and the District of Columbia to receive consulting, capacity building support, and ongoing mentoring through ODEP’s National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network (NEON) initiative. The initiative will assist government agencies in California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Washington, DC in advancing competitive integrated employment (CIE) for people with disabilities.


Q: My company is currently focused on employee retention, including retaining workers with disabilities. I’d like to learn more about the laws and regulations that apply to retaining disabled talent. Does EARN have any resources that can help?

A: Yes, we do! Laws and regulations related to retention of workers with disabilities include the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and others. These laws and regulations help protect the rights of people with disabilities and ensure they have the supports they need to remain on the job. EARN’s “Inclusive Retention: Applicable Laws & Regulations” page offers information to help employers understand these laws and how they assist organizations of all sizes in retaining skilled workers.

Visit EARN’s Retention Laws & Regulations Page

Employer Spotlight

Toyota logo

Prioritizing Employee Well-Being at Toyota

Toyota is aiming to be a model company for workplace wellness. The automotive giant implemented a variety of programs and policies to support the mental health of its more than 40,000 U.S.-based employees. The company offers benefits such as onsite and virtual counseling and a full-service pharmacy and state-of-the-art gym at its North American headquarters in Plano, TX. Watch a CBS News story to find out more.

The content in this newsletter does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Mark Your Calendar

March 15, 2023, 2 p.m. ET
Webinar: Reasonable Accommodations and the ADA: An Update on the Case Law

Providing reasonable accommodations that allow employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their job is a key component of the ADA. This webinar hosted by the ADA National Network will review the latest reasonable accommodation court decisions to help employers and workers understand their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. Guest presenter Barry Taylor, VP for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation at Equip for Equality, will also discuss the process for obtaining and providing reasonable accommodations.

Register for Reasonable Accommodations Webinar.

March 16, 2023, 2 p.m. ET
Webinar: Inclusive Imagery: Writing Alt-Text Depicting People with Disabilities and Other Marginalized Identities

This webinar hosted by the ADA National Network will review the basics of writing informative descriptions for digital images, including those that include people who identify as disabled, people of color, trans, gender nonconforming, or other marginalized identities. Guest presenters from the University of California will present examples and guidelines for describing people from marginalized communities in digital imagery.

Register for Inclusive Imagery Webinar.

March 22, 2023, 2 p.m. ET
Webinar: Managing Risk and Other Legal Requirements for Businesses Under ADA Title III

This webinar hosted by the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center will explore the importance of managing, measuring, and remediating risks within company ADA Title III programs. Representatives from Capital One’s ADA Enterprise Team and Regulatory Legal Team will discuss the processes they use to manage their ADA program and provide examples of best practices for reasonable accommodations and workplace accessibility.

Register for Managing Risk Webinar.

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