Employment Readings

Readings for Employers

Akabas, S.H. (1995) Supervisors: The linchpin in effective employment for people with disabilities. The Journal of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 6(4), 17-18.

  • This article gives examples of difficulties that arise in the workplace when qualified individuals are inappropriately accommodated. It also discusses concerns supervisors have regarding ADA policies and accommodations. The author recommends that supervisors receive training and necessary information in order for all employees to be able to do their job effectively.

Blanck, D.P., Andersen, H.J., Wallach, J.E., & Tenney, P.J. (1996) Implementing reasonable accommodations using ADR under the ADA : The case of a white-collar employee with bipolar mental illness. In J. Parry (Ed) Regulation, litigation and dispute resolution under the Americans with Disabilities Act : A Practitioner’s Guide to Implementation. Washington, D.C.: American Bar Association, 151-158. Available from: The American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, 740 15th St., NW, Wash., D.C. 20005. (202) 662-1570, Fax: (202) 662-1032.

  • This chapter describes the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process used with an employee who has bipolar disorder and his employer.

Cornell University (1994) Employing and accommodating workers with psychiatric disabilities. Brochure produced by Program on Employment and Disability, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Available from your regional ADA Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers, (800) 949-4232.

  • This brochure discusses myths of mental illness, how psychiatric disabilities might affect functioning in the workplace and the types of accommodations that might be effective. A resource section is included. Other brochures on other disability groups are included in this series.

Curtis, B. & Campbell, D. (1994) Business talks frankly about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 4(3), 192-195.

  • This brief article is a discussion with two employers, one from a large company and one from a small company. They discuss the ways they have been responding to the ADA requirements. Both reported that costs for accommodations were small, even though the larger business has resources and policies that make compliance easy.

Ellentuck, Albert B. (1994) Tax deductions for complying with access rules. Nation’s Business, 82, 72.

  • A brief review of tax credits and deductions that are available to employers for ADA compliance. Tax credits and deductions can be used for barrier removal and other accommodations like interpreters, readers, or assistive technology.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC, 1997) EEOC Enforcement Guidance: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Psychiatric Disabilities. EEOC Notice No. 915.002, March 25, 1997. Available from the EEOC, 1801 L Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 20507, (800)669-3362, or http://www.eeoc.gov.

  • Using a frequently asked questions format, this guidance explains the ADA as it applies to people with psychiatric disabilities in employment. This publication covers the areas of the definition of psychiatric disability, disclosure, examples of accommodations, disciplinary action, direct threat and professional licensing.Other materials available from the EEOC include : The ADA Handbook, Technical Assistance Manual on the Employment Provisions (Title I) of the ADA, EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Health Insurance, Pre-Employment Inquiries and Medical Examinations, Worker’s Compensation, Definition of Qualified Individual with a Disability, and a booklet called The ADA : Your Responsibilities as an Employer. Flynn, B.G. (1995) Violence, mental illness and reasonable accommodation in the workplace. The Journal of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 6(4), 13-16.

The author clarifies the issues regarding violent behavior and its limited relationship to mental illness. He advises that employers establish clear workplace policies addressing threats and weapons in the workplace that apply equally to all employees. Flynn discusses the issue of assessing threat, determining accommodations and enforcing workplace violence policies.

Gallup Organization, Inc. (1992) Baseline study to determine business’ attitudes, awareness and reaction to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Washington, D.C. : Electronic Industries Foundation, October, 1992.

  • This comprehensive survey explored employers’ decisions, attitudes and concerns about employing people with disabilities. This report makes a number of recommendations : executives and managers need to become informed about the ADA, access technical assistance, examine current policies and practices, and develop a compliance plan. Resources and publications lists are included.

Giliberti, M. T. (1995) Implementation of the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA by the EEOC and the courts. The Journal of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 6(4), 19-20.

  • Giliberti describes the process available for people to register complaints if they have experienced discrimination as a result of disability. The author then goes on to discuss cases that have been filed with the EEOC over a three-year period and the outcomes of some of those cases.

Hennessey, L. (1994) The Americans with Disabilities Act, Title I : What do we know about reasonable accommodations for individuals with psychiatric disabilities? Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation, 4(4), 245-252.

  • Hennessey summarizes Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with mental and physical impairments. Information on reasonable accommodations to overcome common functional limitations is provided, in an easy-to-understand format to assist employers in complying with the ADA.

Howie the Harp (undated) A crazy folks guide to reasonable accommodation and psychiatric disability. Oakland, CA: Oakland Independence Support Center. Available from: OISC, P.O. Box 70010 Station D, Oakland, CA 94612-0010.

  • Howie the Harp addresses the issue of reasonable accommodations in an enjoyable and easy-to-read article. Howie is an individual with a psychiatric disability who is currently an employer of people with psychiatric disabilities. He describes real-life accommodations that have and have not worked in the past. He stresses the importance of knowing what is and what is not appropriate as a reasonable accommodation.

Kirchner, K. (1994, December) Accommodating persons with psychiatric disabilities in the workplace: The experiences of employee assistance professionals. Resource paper prepared for the Center for Mental Health Services ADA Roundtable, Washington, D.C., January 25-26, 1995. Available from Washington Business Group on Health, 777 N. Capitol Street, NE, Suite 800, Washington, DC, 20002, (202)408-9329(voice), (202)408-9333 (TDD).

  • This report focuses on the increasing demand in the workplace to attend to the needs of people with disabilities and the implementation of employee assistance programs (EAP). These programs are responsible for disability management in the company and to provide early intervention strategies.

Lieblich, Julia. Managing a Manic Depressive. Harvard Business Review. May-June, 1994, 20-21, 24, 28, 30, 32.

  • Lieblich presents a manager’s experience of an executive who has bipolar disorder. Five commentators address the question “ the CEO allow Dan to return to work?”

MacDonald-Wilson, K. (1997) Frequently asked questions about employing people with psychiatric disabilities: Tips and resources on the ADA, job accommodations and supervision.(booklet) Boston, MA: Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University. Available from: Publications Coordinator, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 930 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, (617) 353-3549, (617) 353-7700 (fax).

  • This 12-page booklet highlights some of the questions most important to employers about workers with psychiatric disabilities, including documenting the disability, dealing with co-workers, and giving feedback. Telephone numbers and Internet addresses of selected resources are included.

MacDonald-Wilson, K. (1995) Personal experiences : Negotiating reasonable accommodations. The Journal of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 6(4), 35-37.

  • This paper discusses the issues that arise in trying to create workable and meaningful accommodations for people with psychiatric disabilities. MacDonald-Wilson uses two cases to demonstrate the importance of involving the employer as soon as possible, so as to set up a collaborative spirit between employer and employee.

Mancuso, L.L. (1993) Case studies on reasonable accommodations for workers with psychiatric disabilities. Available from: California Department of Mental Health, Attn.: Publications, 1600 9th Street, Room 250, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 654-2678, no charge for individual copies.

  • This monograph describes the employment experiences of 10 workers with psychiatric disabilities who are working in a variety of jobs, including their use of workplace accommodations. Employees and their employers were interviewed. Major findings are summarized, including the functional limitations and types of accommodations found, as well as a discussion of the issue of disclosure.

Matrix Research Institute. (1995) The facts about mental illness and work. Philadelphia, PA: Research and Training Center on Mental Illness and Work, Matrix Research Institute. Available from: Matrix Research Institute, 6008 Wayne Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19144. (215) 438-8200 (V),(215) 438-1506 (TDD).

  • This informational brochure summarizes some new facts about the capabilities of people with mental illness in the workforce, based upon a broad base of reliable rehabilitation research.

McKee, Bradford A. (1990). Planning for the disabled. Nation’s Business, 78, 24-26.

  • This article discusses the implications the ADA has for businesses and employers, then shows how a business owner can comply with the regulations. Penalties for non-compliance are described, with guidance for employers to avoid these complications. A brief list of organizations that can provide assistance to businesses around ADA issues is also provided.

McKee, Bradford. (1991) What you must do for the disabled. Nation’s Business, 79, December, 36-40.

  • Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990, business owners are wondering what they must do to comply with the new law. This article outlines the prominent rules of the disability law as they apply to a company’s existing structures. It also has the details on the requirements for new construction.

McKee, Bradford A. (1992) Disability rules target job bias. Nation’s Business, 80, 29-33.

  • Explains the requirements of the ADA as they apply to business practices including hiring, interviewing, and setting qualification standards. The article explicitly states what is permissible under the law.

Morrissey, P.A. (1993) Suggestions for accommodating employees with mental illness. The Disability Law Reporter Service, 2(10), 3-10.

  • An overview of limitations people with mental illnesses may experience in the workplace and some of the difficulties in developing accommodations for them. There are also suggestions for developing accommodations through a collaborative process with employer and employee and examples of possible accommodations.

The National Office of the Canadian Mental Health Association (1994). Diversity Works: Accommodations in the workplace for people with mental illness. Available from the National Office of the Canadian Mental Health Association, 2169 Yonge St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4S 2Z3, (416) 484-8785.

Parrish, J. (1991) Making reasonable accommodations under the A.D.A. Focus: Quarterly Newsletter of the National Mental Health Association, Spring.

  • A brief article summarizing types of accommodations that can be provided on the job as well as in the hiring process. Possible areas of accommodations include emotional support, flexibility, supervision, wages and benefits, and coworkers’ attitudes.

Parrish, J. Reasonable accommodations for people with psychiatric disabilities: Summary. Unpublished manuscript, the Center for Mental Health Services, Room 11C-22, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD, 20857.

  • Parrish provides a thorough list of accommodations, including emotional support, flexibility, supervision, training, transportation and attitudes in the workplace. She also discusses strategies for providing accommodations, difficulties encountered in accommodating individuals, and incidents of discrimination in public facilities.

Parry, J.W. (1993) Mental disabilities under the ADA : A difficult path to follow. Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter, 17(l), 100-112.

  • Parry discusses both hypothetical examples and established court cases to delineate current interpretations of the ADA by the Department of Justice. The author also includes a section on insurance coverage for people with disabilities and the implications for employers.

Pollet, Susan L. (1995) Mental illness in the workplace: The tension between productivity and reasonable accommodation. Journal of Psychiatry and Law, 23(l), 155-184.

  • Reviews the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as they pertain to reasonable accommodations for people with mental illness. The author concludes that providing accommodations to people with mental illness is low cost, requiring observation, flexibility and good management. Barriers to providing accommodations are also discussed, including resources, disclosure, coworker attitudes and communication.

Speller, J. L. (1989) Executives in crisis: Recognizing and managing the alcoholic, drug-addicted, or mentally ill executive. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass, Inc., code # SPEEXEA, $30.95. Available from Jossey Bass, Inc., 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104, (888) 378-2537 (V), (800) 605-2665 (Fax), http://www.pfeiffer.com.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (1984) Handbook on reasonable accommodation. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 0-429-083. Available from: New Orders, Superintendent of Documents, P. O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, (202) 783-3238, Fax (202) 512-2250.

  • A resource that describes government regulations regarding reasonable accommodation as defined by Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which applies to all federal government agencies and organizations which receive federal funds. The ADA was modeled on this law. The handbook also provides a brief explanation of undue hardship for the employer.

Zuckerman, D. (1993) Reasonable accommodations for people with mental illness under the ADA. Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter, 17(3), 311-320.

  • Outlines guidelines for the hiring and employment of people with mental illness, as specified by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Aspects of the hiring process that are considered are qualification standards, safety concerns, evaluation of direct threat, applications, interviews and testing, medical exams and inquiries. In terms of actual employment, discussion focuses on the process of providing reasonable accommodation in the workplace, education in the workplace, and on-the-job accommodations (such as flexible scheduling, job restructuring, and job training). Also discussed are issues pertaining to improved communications and support.

Zuckerman, D., Debenham, K.; and Moore, K. (1997) The ADA and Mental Illness: A Resource Manual for Employers, 2d ed. Washington, D.C.: American Bar Association and National Mental Health Association, 88 pages. Available from National Mental Health Association, 1021 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314-2971. (703) 684-7722.

  • The authors discuss accommodations in the hiring process, on the job, and in wages and benefits. Also discussed are potential barriers in the accommodation process around disclosure, employer understanding, and resources.

Note:  The information contained in these pages is for educational purposes only, and is not legal advice. Individuals should contact the appropriate legal resources for specific legal advice regarding their particular situations.