Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must accommodate any qualified person with a disability to ensure that an applicant or employee has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.
Despite the requirements for reasonable accommodation under the ADA, currently only a limited number of required postings are available in Braille or large-print formats from government agencies (the Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law poster, for example).
The laws affecting visually impaired workers remain in effect, and employers are still required to make reasonable accommodation to provide notice of workplace laws for all employees. That means there’s a disconnect between an employer’s responsibilities under the ADA and the availability of labor law resources for visually impaired and blind applicants and employees.
Labor Law Posting Resources for Visually Impaired and Blind Workers
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends that employers provide written materials in an accessible format, such as in large print, Braille, or in an audio format. Additionally, computer software can “read aloud” digital materials for visually impaired computer users. Adobe Reader, for example, can read aloud the text found in a PDF with its Text-to-Speech tool, but more sophisticated screen reader software allows visually impaired persons to fully navigate their computers with audio assistance.
GovDocs suggests that employers consider the following solutions to ensure visually impaired and blind employees and applicants have access to labor law resources in the workplace:
- Large-print format: Provide large-print formats (18-point type as recommended by the American Foundation for the Blind) of any required federal, state, and city postings in locations with visually impaired employees and in all locations where visually impaired job applicants may visit.
- Braille versions: Display Braille versions of any required federal, state, and city postings in workplaces with blind employees and in all locations where blind job applicants have access.
- Electronic versions: Provide access to PDF versions of any required federal, state, and city postings labor law postings on your company intranet so that visually impaired and blind employees can access the content through screen reader technology or refreshable Braille readers.
Further Consideration for Employers with Diversity and Inclusion Strategies
- According to the Department of Labor, “the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for job applicants or employees with disabilities is one of the key non-discrimination requirements in the ADA’s employment provisions.”
- The ODEP developed a framework for disability inclusion for employers who want to create a diverse and inclusive work environment.
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), part of the ODEP has suggestions for workplace accommodations for disabled employees that not only are low cost but also highly effective.