Policy Initiatives to Support Workplace Accommodations

Project Team

Project Director: Paul M.A. Baker, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator: Nathan Moon

 

Summary / Outcome Goals

The objectives of this project are to:

Objectives will be reached by 1) review of Federal, and state (as appropriate), regulatory, legislative and policy activities; 2) the monitoring and analysis of policy and practices; and 3) development of policy options and recommendations. Analyses will cover an array of pertinent policy areas: 1) workplace and labor law and policy; 2) disability policy, including the ADA, NFI, and Sections 508, 255; 3) legal issues, professional licensure and liability, safety and standards; 4) privacy, security, and confidentiality; and 5) applicability of policy initiatives to advance universal design and improve workplace accommodations.

Project methods are divided into 4 interrelated tasks.

Progress to Date

•  Identification of key interrelated policy areas has been completed, and initial results of this research continue to be disseminated via conference presentations and paper submissions. Refinement of the key issues is in progress as part of the policy framework brief.

•  The project continues to explore and assess national, state and regional-level data sources, tracking the integration and accommodation of people with disabilities into the workplace.

•  A new policy brief on reasonable accommodations (Title 1 of the ADA ), by Lynzee Head and Paul M.A. Baker, was produced and total of sixteen newsletters on workplace accommodation have been produced and disseminated to date.

•  The project continues development of a policy framework focused on various policies influencing use of assistive technologies and universal design in workplace accommodation.

•  Workplace Accommodation Policy/Issues Curricula Development.

Paul M.A. Baker ( Lynzee Head co-lecturer) taught a graduate course, Fall 2004, “Technology, Disabilities, and the Aging: New Policy Approaches,” a revision of the Fall 2003 course “Technology, Policy, & the "Disability Divide" that addressed the application of technology in home, and workplace environments. The seminar included speakers from the Wireless, and Workplace Accommodations RERCs, as well as from other units across the Georgia Tech campus to create a cross-disciplinary environment. Several of the speakers and class members can be characterized as having some type of disability making the class particularly relevant. The project is exploring development of an online extension of the work with other Work RERC project staff. In the Spring 2005 semester Paul also supervised 3 independent studies for graduate students related to disabilities and access technology. R5 sponsored two graduate research assistants for the Summer 2005 and 2005-6 academic year.

•  Paul M.A. Baker continues to serve on the editorial board of Assistive Technology.

•  Paul M.A. Baker was named as senior editor of a forthcoming 2006 special edition of Assistive Technology Journal focusing on Disability Policy. Co-editors are Kevin Caves and Peter Blanck.

•  Paul M.A. Baker was appointed to the Blue Ribbon Panel for LMSI's ADA Impact Study for the National Council on Disability (2005).

•  Project staff continue to participate in outreach activities both internal and external to the disability community. Examples include speaking at governmental technology meetings on the need to develop accessible technologies/applications for employees and citizens, and participation at a 2005 Disability Law and Policy Network Brownbag, sponsored by the Disability Law and Policy Center of Georgia, and establishment of a working relationship with the Center for Law, Health & Society , Georgia State University College of Law

•  Paul M.A. Baker participated in a planning summit (August 2006) for the Southern Growth Policies Board Project on “Building the Next Southern Workforce,” and was a representative to the October 2006, Georgia State Policy Dialogue “Building the Next Southern Workforce Forum held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Key Findings

Thematically, the objective of ensuring that appropriate Workplace Accommodations occur appears straightforward, however as a policy research area, it poses several interesting problems. The focus on developing workplaces that can accommodate all characteristics and abilities of individual crosses a wide variety of legal, policy, technological, social, and human factors issues. From the perspective of social scientists as well as policy makers, the failure to integrate people with disabilities into the workplace has two implications. First, at the level of the disabled person, the failure often leads to diminished degree of social contacts and social support (social capital). This in turn can result in compromises to the health of the disabled person beyond purely disability related ones. Second, at the level of the community (or society) this failure often leads to a widening in the gap between those with access to social capital and those without (or having less) access to social capital. The widening of this gap, can lead to a larger, systemic breakdown of social cohesion, and a general lowering of the level of health present in the community (society). Therefore it is important to identify people with disabilities, and create public (employment and health) policies that promote their integration into the workplace (and so too into the larger communities in which the various workplaces exist). To this end, project explores approaches to the use of policy as a cross-disciplinary vehicle for achieving improved workplace conditions.

Policy Delphi

A policy Delphi was conducted by the Work RERC to identify key legislative and policy issues critical to the implementation of successful workplace accommodations and to develop policy options for addressing potential barriers.

A policy Delphi is a polling technique that seeks feedback from various stakeholders on a given issue. It is usually conducted over the course of several rounds, in which open-ended questions are also asked of the panel. Responses are then used to help develop the questions for the subsequent round. Our Policy Delphi on Workplace Accommodations took place over three rounds and involved about 45 participants representing the disability community, employers, vocational rehabilitation, and state and federal officials.

Participants in the Delphi were asked to provide input on four categories of questions.

Read the full policy Delphi report.

Selected Publications / Presentations

  • Moon, N.W. and Baker, P.M.A. (September 2010). Accommodating Workers Aging Into Disability: Findings From A Policy Delphi Study, in International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence. Newcastle UK.
  • Baker, P.M.A., Bricout, J.C., Moon, N.W., and Pater, J. (September 2010). Telework, Aging, And The Socially Inclusive Workplace, in International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence. Newcastle UK.
  • Moon, N.W. and Baker, P.M.A. (June 2010). "Reducing Barriers to Workplace Accommodations: Insights from a Policy Delphi Study" RESNA 2010 Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV
  • Moon, N.W. and Baker, P.M.A. (March 2010). "Developing Inclusive Workplace Accommodations for People with Disabilities: Results from Policy Research" 25th International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Baker, P.M.A. and Bricout, J.C. (March 2010). "New Tools for Public Participation: Web 2.0, New Media, and Inclusive Policymaking
    " 25th International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Baker, P.M.A., Tobias, J. and Creagan, T. (March 2010). "Beyond Accessible: New Digital Technologies and the Inclusive Workplace" 25th International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Baker, P. M. A., & Caves, K. (2008). "Introduction: Disability Policy and the Law: Much Accomplished, Much Remains to Be Done." Assistive Technology, 20(3), 125.
  • Baker, P. M.A. and Moon, N.W. (2008). "Wireless Technologies and Accessibility for People With Disabilities: Findings From A Policy Research Instrument." Assistive Technology. 20(3), 149-156.
  • •  Kaplan, Shelley, Sally Weiss, Nathan W. Moon, and Paul M.A. Baker. 2006. “A Framework for Providing Telecommuting as a Reasonable Accommodation: Some Considerations on a Comparative Case Study.” WORK:A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation . 27(4) (in press).

    •  Baker, Paul M.A., Moon, Nathan and Andrew C. Ward. 2006. “Virtual Exclusion and Telework: Barriers and Opportunities of Technocentric Workplace Accommodation Policy,” WORK:A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation . 27(4) (in press).

    •  Head, Lynzee, Paul M.A. Baker, Brad Bagwell and Nathan Moon . 2006. “Barriers to Evidence Based Practice in Accommodations for an Aging Workforce.” WORK:A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation . 27(4) (in press).

    •  Andrew Ward and Paul M.A. Baker. 2005. "Disabilities and Impairments: Strategies for Workplace Integration." Behavioral Sciences & the Law , 23(1):143-60.

    •  A book chapter, Baker, Paul M.A. and Andrew Ward. “Telework and People with Disabilities: Developing the "E-Clusive" Workplace,” was published as part of Encyclopedia of Digital Government , Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko and Matti Malkia (eds.) Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 2006.

    •  Lynzee Head , Brad Bagwell and Paul M.A. Baker, presented “Aging and the Accommodating Workplace: A Survey of Employer Practice” at the 2005 Workplace RERC State of the Science Conference.

    •  Paul M.A. Baker presented, "Virtual Exclusion and the Teleworker” for the 2005 Workplace RERC State of the Science Conference.

    •  A new policy brief on reasonable accommodations (Title 1 of the ADA ), by Lynzee Head and Paul M.A. Baker, was produced and more than 20 newsletters on workplace accommodation have been produced and disseminated to date.

    •  A paper, “Toward Development Of The Accommodating Workplace: Key Technological And Policy Issues,” was presented at the 2004 Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference Center on Disabilities, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in March.

    •  A panel “Information, Communication and Technology Policy for People with Disabilities: Designing Approaches to Reduce Access Barriers” was moderated by Paul M.A. Baker at the Twenty-Sixth Annual APPAM Research Conference, 28-30 October 2004, in Atlanta, GA. Karen Milchus served as a paper discussant.

    •  Lynzee Head presented “Veterans with Disabilities: New Implications for Social Research and Policy Evaluation” for delivery as Policy Platform Session at the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference, June 23-27, 2005, Atlanta, Georgia

    •  Lynzee Head presented “Workplace Accommodations and ADA Title1: Policy and the Metrics of "Reasonable,” Lynzee Head and Paul M.A. Baker, at CSUN's 20th Annual, International Conference, "Technology and Persons with Disabilities." March 14-19, 2005, Los Angeles , CA .

    •  Paul M.A. Baker, was a panelist on "The Rush to Voting Technology: A Forum on the Impacts to Disability Access" panel held at CSUN Annual Conference on Technology and Disability. May 18, 2005.

    •  Paul M.A. Baker presented “The Virtual Workspace: Telework, Disabilities and Public Policy,” by Paul M.A. Baker and Alea Fairchild, at the 5th European Conference on E-Government, University of Antwerp, Belgium, June 2005.

    •  Paul M.A. Baker and Rob Roy presented: “Getting Out the Vote: Assessing Technological, Social and Process Barriers to Voting for People with Disabilities” at the 2005 APPAM Fall Conference, Washington D.C. , Nov. 3-5, 2005.

    •  Paul M.A. Baker, Andrew Ward and Lynzee Head had a poster paper accepted “Telework and the Virtual Workplace: The Ins and Outs of Technological Employment Accommodations” at the 2005 APPAM Fall Conference, Washington D.C. , Nov. 3-5, 2005.

    •  Paul M.A. Baker, Rob Roy, and Nathan Moon proposed and conducted a panel on Disability Policy, Accessibility, and Planner Education for the 2006 American Planning Association Conference, San Antonio Texas .

    •  “(e)Voting for People with Disabilities and the Aging: A Survey of Technological, Social and Process Barriers to Participation,” Paul M.A. Baker, Michael D. Williams, Nathan W. Moon and Robert G.B. Roy. Presented by Paul M.A. Baker at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia , PA , August 31 - September 3, 2006.

    •  "Disabilities, (E)Voting and Access: A Survey of Voter Satisfaction," Robert G.B. Roy, Paul M.A. Baker, and Shelley A. Kaplan, presented at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Center on Disabilities' 21st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, Los Angeles, CA, March 20-25, 2006.

    •  "Workplace Accommodations for Older Workers: An Examination of Employer Practice" Lynzee Head , Paul M.A. Baker, and Brad Bagwell, presented at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Center on Disabilities' 21st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, Los Angeles, CA, March 20-25, 2006.

    •  "Increasing Access to Wireless Technologies: Results of A Policy Delphi Study," Paul M.A. Baker, Nathan W. Moon, and Alan Bakowski , presented at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Center on Disabilities' 21st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, Los Angeles, CA, March 20-25, 2006.

    •  “Accommodating the Aging Worker: Technology, Policy, and Universal Design in the Workplace,” Paul M.A. Baker, presented at the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) and the American Society on Aging (ASA) Joint Conference, “Invest in Aging,” Anaheim, California, March 16-19, 2006.

    •  Aging and the Accommodating Workplace: Policy Implications of Employer Practice. Head, L., Baker, P.M.A. and Bagwell, B. (2006, February). Presented at the 2006 International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence , St. Petersburg , Florida .

    •  Workplace Accommodation Policy and Older Workers. Head, L., Baker, P.M.A. and Bagwell, B. (2006, February). Presented at the 2006 International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence , St. Petersburg , Florida .


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