The Small Business at Work Toolkit

Tips, checklists, and resources to help managers lead a disability inclusive workforce.
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Two diverse businesspeople chatting beside an open laptop in an office.

The ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in a small business

A grab-and-go summary to take to meetings or use on the fly

Do this

Stay updated about how ADA employment laws impact your small business by contacting your Regional ADA Center for free and confidential expert guidance. Call 800-949-4232.

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Dismiss the ADA, assuming it doesn’t apply to small businesses.

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Communicate ADA basics throughout your business—to managers/supervisors and employees.

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Wait until an ADA issue arises to communicate the basics of the law.

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Recognize that a range of conditions are considered disabilities under the ADA.

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Assume that ADA disabilities are only those that are visible to others.

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Follow ADA requirements regarding asking applicants and employers about their disabilities.

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Ask applicants or workers about possible disabilities that might impact the job.

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Be prepared to accommodate all known disabilities among your applicants and employees.

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Fail to recognize that job accommodations are required by the ADA.

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Give employees with disabilities the same access to employment benefits (training, promotion, health insurance, and other benefits) offered to other employees.

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Believe they should not provide some benefits to employees with disabilities because they might be more expensive.

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Correctly identify essential versus marginal functions in job descriptions.

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Create vague or inaccurate job descriptions.

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Collect only the employee medical information needed to find an accommodation or assess a safety risk. Keep this information confidential and separate from other employee information.

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Collect as much medical information as you can and keep it in the personnel files.

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Create an atmosphere of trust so employees with disabilities will come forward when an employment issue arises.

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Tolerate a work environment where workers with disabilities experience fear and shame when they come forward.