AskEARN | Physical Accessibility Skip to main content

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) offers information and resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; build inclusive workplace cultures; and meet diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals. 

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Getting Started

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

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    Phases of Employment

  • A woman in a wheelchair shakes hands with a colleague

    Recruit

    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • A man wearing a blue jumpsuit uses forearm crutches

    Hire

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

  • A woman with a disability wearing a helmet works in a factory

    Retain

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

  • Two men sign to each other with a federal government symbol in the background

    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 monthly newsletter and eblasts, 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

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Physical Accessibility

Physical accessibility ensures equal access in the workplace.  

Although the benefits of accessibility extend beyond compliance, it is important for employers to understand what is required by laws. 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is an employer’s obligation to “provide access for an individual applicant to participate in the job application process, and for an individual employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his/her job, including access to a building, to the work site, to needed equipment, and to all facilities used by employees.”

In addition to the building and work site, areas in which accessibility must be provided may include, but are not limited to:

  • Parking lots (handicapped parking spaces)
  • Entrances/exits
  • Fire alarms/emergency exits
  • Conference rooms and shared workspace
  • Desks and personal workspace
  • Hallways and stairwells
  • Elevators
  • Restrooms
  • Cafeterias

EARN offers three checklists to help employers ensure career fairs and hiring events, meetings and events (PDF) and trainings (PDF) are accessible. The U.S. Access Board is an important source of information on the ADA's standards for the physical environment, including workplaces. The ADA National Network and its 10 regional ADA Centers also offer guidance and one-on-one assistance to help employers ensure physical spaces are accessible. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center’s Guide to Accessible Meetings, Events and Conferences provides tips that can assist with factors such as site selection, audio-visual materials and catering.

Businesses that make modifications to improve workplace accessibility may be eligible for tax credits or deductions to help offset costs incurred. For more information read the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Tax Benefits for Businesses Who Have Employees with Disabilities.

To learn about planning accessible employee resource group (ERG) events, read this fact sheet (PDF) developed by EARN and the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT).