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How to Make Your Company Accessible for Disabled Employees

Organizations need to do more than offer remote work to bring in a wide pool of job applicants.

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Illustration: Vincent Kilbride for Bloomberg Businessweek

Remote work has helped Americans with disabilities find employment as never before. A record 5.9 million disabled men and women ages 16-64 were employed in October, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics—up almost 25% from February 2020, before the start of the pandemic. Advocates are hoping that they’ll continue to find work opportunities, even as managers bring staff back to the office. For employers, disabled people have filled essential roles and helped diversify their workforces. Here are eight ways to make sure your company is inclusive and accessible.

Clarify job descriptions. Does a person really need to be able to lift 40 pounds to do a certain job? Or have a driver’s license? Some qualifications listed in job descriptions can be inherently exclusionary to people with disabilities. Listing requirements that are in plain, open-ended language can increase your opportunities to hire a diverse workforce, says Diane Winiarski, director of Allsup Employment Services, which specializes in helping people with disabilities return to work. And if you clearly communicate that you’re accustomed to providing accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act, that’ll lead to even more applicants, she says.