Your People Experts

Accessible Technology & Your Workplace

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has launched a new program from the Section 508 refresh to progress around Section 501. The regulatory landscape around accessible information and communications technology (ICT) is ever evolving. To help employers, employees, and technology providers learn about and understand the latest federal regulatory developments, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has launched Policy Matters, a centralized resource that covers what’s happening in the world of accessible technology-related public policy.

This new program features plain language articles, policy briefs, and analyses. Policy Matters explores how key policy developments apply to the workplace—from laws and regulations to court decisions and proposed legislation. The free tool is designed to keep stakeholders informed about government efforts to ensure workplace technology is accessible to all employees—including those with disabilities.

“Q: Are there any laws related to accessible technology that apply to my organization as an employer?
A: Possibly. Certain laws and regulations apply to certain employers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities within the context of employment. If you plan to use technology that would effectively prevent people with disabilities from participating, then you are at risk of a possible lawsuit. For example, if the only way to find out about and apply for a job is through an inaccessible website, you may have a problem.

Similarly, employers who are federal contractors and subcontractors also have responsibilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act related to specific actions they must take in the areas of disability employment, training, record-keeping, and policy dissemination. Updates to Section 503 enacted in 2014 are fueling some employers’ interest in accessible technology as a way to support a disability-friendly workplace—from online job applications to talent management systems that can assist in recordkeeping and self-disclosure.

Aside from federal contractors, the private sector is not mandated to buy and promote the use of accessible ICT products; however, it is considered an exemplary practice to do so—as well as an advantageous business strategy. Several organizations have developed technical standards to provide detailed accessibility guidance. To learn more, read Technical Standards for Workplace Technologies.”

To assist in making your workplace technology accessible to all PEAT has designed a series of action steps for employers to utilize.

 

Step 1: Get The Basics

Step 2: Assess

Step 3: Build Your Initiative

Step 4: Buy & Implement

Step 5: Communicate

Step 6: Measure

Step 7: Share What Works

Step 8: Learn More

 

EAF members can access our ADA Toolkit by logging on to eafinc.org/membership-login Our Toolkits are designed to provide a comprehensive overview and in-depth compilation of information by topic. Toolkits include regulations, legal references, policies, checklists, articles and more. If you have questions regarding the accessibility of your workplace, contact the experts at EAF for more information & assistance! 407.260.6556 or info@eafinc.org

 

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Disclaimer

EAF provides information about current developments in labor and employment law. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Questions requiring legal advice should be addressed to the attorney of your choice. EAF members may be able to obtain a legal interpretation through our FREE Legal Hotline.