Accommodation Benefits

Peter Blanck

The benefits to companies of employing and accommodating qualified workers has been documented, showing many large and small businesses look beyond minimal compliance with the ADA. In a study funded by the Annenberg Foundation of hundreds of workplace accommodations at Sears Roebuck made before and after the ADA, my colleagues and I find the low costs of accommodations for employees with disabilities produce substantial economic benefits, in terms of increased work productivity, injury prevention, reduced workers' compensation costs, and workplace effectiveness and efficiency. This presentation will discuss these and other empirical and legal developments in accommodating workers under the ADA. We will present emerging and new information from a large collaborative study of workplace accommodations, undertaken by and funded to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. Preliminary findings show that many employers studied report the benefits of providing workplace accommodations to employees with disabilities outweighs the costs, and that the costs generally are low.

Slides not used for this presentation.

Peter Blanck is University Professor and Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University in New York. He is the Kierscht Professor of Law at the University of Iowa (on leave). Blanck received his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University and his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he served as President of the Stanford Law Review. The Burton Blatt Institute, and the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center (LHPDC) which Blanck directs, are leaders in law, technology, education and research, focused on improving the quality of life for persons living with disabilities. The institute’s staff of social science researchers, lawyers and other professionals concentrates on public policy and its impact on persons with disabilities.

Dr. Blanck has written articles and books on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related laws, received grants to study disability law and policy, worked with many Fortune 500 companies on disability and work-life issues, represented clients before the United States Supreme Court in ADA cases, and testified before Congress. Blanck is a member of the board of the National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.), a former member of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and former Senior Fellow of the Annenberg Washington Program.
( Full CV at )

Presentation from the 'Workplace Accommodations: State of the Science' conference, September 15-16, 2005, Atlanta, GA