Volume 6, Issue 2, Second Quarter, 2008
The JAN E-News is a quarterly online newsletter of the Job Accommodation Network. Its purpose is to keep subscribers informed about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings, and Webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities.
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- Neil Romano: Taking the Helm as ODEP's Assistant Secretary
- U.S. BLN Annual Conference – JAN SuperTrack
- May is Mental Health Awareness Month
- Depression in the Workplace
- May is Arthritis Awareness Month
- 2008 CSUN Conference
- JAN Exhibit and Training Schedule
- JAN Spanish Services
- Contact JAN
As a service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Job Accommodation Network welcomes Neil Romano as ODEP's Assistant Secretary. Read more.
Wondering when the next JAN Conference will be held?
2008 brings about a change in the type of conference training JAN will offer. This year, JAN will not host an annual conference, but instead is “joining forces” with the US Business Leadership Network (US BLN) by offering a JAN SuperTrack of practical accommodation training during the USBLN’s 11th Annual Conference and National Career Fair, “Expanding Inclusion: The Business Strategy.” The USBLN annual conference is the preeminent national event for business, community leaders, and BLN chapters that have an interest in hiring, retaining, and marketing to people with disabilities.
Please join JAN Consultants as they host the SuperTrack in Portland, Oregon, October 5-8, 2008, at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront Hotel, which is known for stunning views of Mt. Hood and the Willamette River paired with the hotel’s award winning service.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) SuperTrack - Please join senior JAN Consultants and invited national experts for this dynamic two-day SuperTrack of trainings designed to effectively increase participants' practical knowledge and skills regarding reasonable accommodation solutions and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). JAN is the nation’s premiere resource for building your inclusive workplace!
Don’t miss this exceptional collaboration between two of our nation’s top organizations working to make workplaces inclusive. The 2008 conference promises to provide informational and educational opportunities of the highest quality. Five concurrent educational tracks will be offered, including:
Diversity, Disability & Corporate Culture - Learn how to change corporate culture by expanding diversity and including disability in the workforce.
Hidden Disabilities and the Workplace - What’s a Hidden Disability? Learn how to work with employees with “hidden” disabilities to harness their full potential.
Tapping into Talent - Veterans, Older Workers and More - These sessions will assist employers in providing returning veterans the opportunity to reenter the workforce and retain our aging workforce that experiences disability and desire to remain in the workforce.
Emerging Practices & Technology - Learn from your peers on emerging practices & technology for engaging employers, creating opportunities and enhancing productivity.
Youth Employment Development - Learn how to proactively recruit and retain students in internships, mentoring programs, and career opportunities.
Registration is open. For continually updated information about this exceptional training event, visit http://www.newworkforceconference.org
Mental health is how we feel, think, and act as we manage our lives. Our mental health impacts our relationships and the decisions we make. Like our physical health, maintaining good mental health is essential at all times in our lives. Living in an increasingly fast-paced and complicated world may cause us to experience more problems with managing our lives.
Life can be stressful for all of us at one time or another. Stress can be caused by the annoyances of daily life such as traffic, deadlines at work, or illnesses. Stress can also be caused by more serious issues like termination of a job, loss of a loved one, or financial difficulties. How do we determine if the stress or discomfort we are feeling is a normal reaction to a passing difficulty in our lives, or a symptom of a more serious problem, possibly a mental illness that needs treatment?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, religion, or race, or any level of income or education. They are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are common and affect approximately 57.7 million Americans in a given year. That is about one in four adults (NAMI).
Factors you should consider when evaluating your mental health may include the following information about your symptoms: how long you have had them, how serious they are, how upsetting they are to you, and how they affect your life. If you are having questions about your feelings, thoughts, or actions and whether the problems you may be experiencing may require the assistance of a menal health provider. According to NAMI, early identification and treatment is of vital importance. The best treatments today for even serious mental illnesses are highly effective.
The Cleveland Clinic offers tips for improving both your physical and mental health and helping to reduce stress:
- Learn to relax,
- Exercise regularly,
- Eat well-balanced meals,
- Get plenty of sleep and rest, and
- Do not rely on drugs or alcohol.
For additional information, contact: http://www.clevelandclinic.org
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration leads national efforts to improve prevention and mental health treatment services for all Americans, including employment-related options. http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
Toll Free: 800-950-NAMI
National Mental Health Association
Toll Free: 800-433-5969
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
- Melanie Whetzel, M.A., JAN Consultant
Everyone may at some time experience the blues or feel down and not quite themselves. But when the bad days begin to outnumber the good ones, and an employee begins to have attendance and performance issues, then this employee may have depression. Depression is a serious medical condition that affects nearly 15 million adults each year. It is one of the top three workplace issues impacting employers each year and costs businesses $83 billion annually (SAMSHA 2005). The symptoms of depression include:
- persistently sad or irritable mood;
- pronounced changes in sleep, appetite, and energy;
- difficulty thinking, concentrating, and remembering;
- physical slowing or agitation;
- lack of interest in or pleasure from activities that were once enjoyed;
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and emptiness;
- recurrent thoughts of death or suicide; and
- persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
Depression is very treatable and over 80% of those diagnosed with it can be successfully rehabilitated with medication and psychotherapy. Diet and exercise can promote a healthy lifestyle to combat the effects of depression. In the workplace, there are many possible accommodations that can be provided to help employees with depression perform their job:
Stamina During the Workday:
- Provide flexible scheduling
- Allow longer or more frequent work breaks
- Allow employee to work from home during part of the day, or week
- Provide part time work schedules
- Reduce distractions in the work area
- Provide space enclosures or a private office
- Allow for use of white noise or environmental sound machines
- Allow the employee to play soothing music using a cassette player and headset
- Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting
- Plan for uninterrupted work time and allow for frequent breaks
- Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and goals
- Restructure job to include only essential functions
- Allow the employee to tape record meetings and provide written checklists
- Provide type written minutes from meetings
- Provide written instructions and allow additional training time
Difficulty Staying Organized and Meeting Deadlines:
- Make daily TO-DO lists and check items off as they are completed
- Use several calendars to mark meetings and deadlines
- Remind employee of important deadlines
- Use electronic organizers
- Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and goals
Difficulty Handling Stress and Emotions:
- Provide praise and positive reinforcement
- Refer to counseling and employee assistance programs
- Allow telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for needed support
- Allow the presence of a support animal
- Allow the employee to take breaks as needed
- Provide flexible leave for health problems
- Provide a self-paced work load and flexible hours
- Allow employee to work from home and provide part-time work schedule
- Allow employee to make up time
Arthritis is a term that covers over 100 different conditions that affect body joints. Arthritis is second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability and is the number one cause of impairment in individuals over the age of 15 (Arthritis Foundation, 2007). In 2006, approximately 46 million (1 in 5) people in the United States reported arthritic symptoms (Arthritis Foundation, 2007). While osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis (Arthritis Foundation, 2007), other conditions falling under the general term include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, scleroderma, and fibromyalgia.
With costs reaching $128 billion annually to the U.S. economy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007), steps taken by employers to reasonably accommodate workers with arthritis can make a positive impact on the bottom line of employers. JAN offers accommodation suggestions for many conditions, including a publication titled, Accommodation Ideas for Employees with Arthritis (http://askjan.org/media/Arthritis.html).
When considering accommodations for people with arthritis, the accommodation process must be conducted on a case-by-case basis taking in to consideration the individual's specific limitations. The degree of limitation will vary among individuals so it is always useful to consult with the individual who has arthritis to help determine effective accommodations. The following is a sample of possible limitations and accommodations for employees with arthritis:
Limitations and Accommodation Ideas
Activities of Daily Living:
- Allow use of a personal attendant at work
- Allow use of a service animal at work
- Make sure the facility is accessible
- Move workstation closer to the restroom
- Allow longer breaks
- Refer to appropriate community services
- Reduce or eliminate physical exertion and workplace stress
- Schedule periodic rest breaks away from the workstation
- Allow a flexible work schedule, flexible use of leave time, and work from home
- Implement ergonomic workstation design
- Provide a scooter or other mobility aid if walking cannot be reduced
Fine Motor Impairment:
- Implement ergonomic workstation design
- Provide alternative computer access
- Provide alternative telephone access
- Provide arm supports
- Provide writing and grip aids
- Provide a page turner and a book holder
- Provide a note taker
Gross Motor Impairment:
- Modify the work-site to make it accessible
- Provide parking close to the work-site
- Provide an accessible entrance
- Install automatic door openers
- Provide an accessible restroom and break room
- Provide an accessible route of travel to other work areas used by the employee
- Modify the workstation to make it accessible
- Adjust desk height if wheelchair or scooter is used
- Make sure materials and equipment are within reach
- Move workstation closer to other work areas, office equipment, and break rooms
- John Greer, M.S., JAN Senior Consultant
2008 CSUN Conference: JAN’s Technical Assistance Reaches Many
The 2008 Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities (CSUN) Conference was held in Los Angeles, CA, this past March. JAN supported the conference by exhibiting in the exhibit hall’s New Orleans Room. Lou Orslene, JAN’s Co-Director, and Dr. Beth Loy, Principle Consultant, provided information about JAN’s services, assistive technology, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the benefits of accommodation, to over 350 attendees.
Dr. Loy worked with the Department of Defense’s Computer/ Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) to provide a one-day CSUN Preconference session titled, “Using Reasonable Accommodations to Develop a Highly Accessible and Integrated Workplace.” Co-presenters from CAP were Dinah F. B. Cohen, CAP Director, and Derek Shields, CAP Program Manager. For more information on CAP, visit: http://www.tricare.mil/cap/
Dr. Loy also presented “Transitioning Youths with Learning Disabilities: A Look at Assistive Technology (AT) and Reasonable Accommodation” and “UD & AT in the Workplace: A Study on Job Accommodation.” The sessions were attended by over 100 professionals and addressed strategies for implementing accommodations, transitioning to new employment situations, and using data to demonstrate the benefits and costs of accommodation. Dr. Loy also covered the accommodation process, effective accommodation options, legal rights and responsibilities, and a process for choosing AT.
As a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the overall goal of JAN’s effort at CSUN was to influence disability-related employment policy and practice affecting the employment of people with disabilities.
May 29, 2008. WV Coalition Training with Region 3 DBTAC. JAN staff presenting. http://www.adainfo.org/
June 5-6, 2008. 41st Annual Pacific Coast Labor and Employment Law Conference in Seattle, WA. JAN staff presenting. http://www.pacificlaborlaw.com/
June 10, 2008. JAN/USBLN Webcast event with John Kemp presenting Roadmaps for Enhancing Employment of Persons with Disabilities Through the Use of Assistive Technology. http://askjan.org/webcast/
June 20, 2008. EEOC Technical Assistance Program Seminar (TAPS) in Phoenix, AZ. JAN staff presenting.
June 22-25, 2008. SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago, IL. Stop by the ODEP booth. http://www.shrm.org/conferences/annual/
June 24, 2008. EEO Seminar for Employers in Morgantown, WV. Free event sponsored by EEOC, WVHRC, and WVU. JAN staff presenting.
June 26, 2008. Denver EEOC training event for managers and supervisors in the Federal Government. JAN staff presenting.
June 26-30, 2008. RESNA 2008: Campaign for Assistive Technology in Washington, DC. Stop by the JAN booth in the exhibit hall.
July 8, 2008. JAN Webcast. ADA Update with EEOC and JAN. http://askjan.org/webcast/
July 9-11, 2008. APSE The Network on Employment Annual Conference in Louisville, KY. Stop by the JAN booth in the exhibit hall.
July 15-17, 2008. Workforce Innovations 2008 in New Orleans, LA. Stop by the ODEP booth in the exhibit hall.
August 10-13, 2008. Disability Management Employer Coalition Annual conference in Denver, CO. Stop by the JAN booth in the exhibit hall. http://www.dmec.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=84
August 18-21, 2008. EEOC Excel Conference in Chicago, IL. Stop by the JAN exhibit booth and JAN staff presenting.
August 24-27, 2008. "The Best Go West: Customized Employment Leadership Rendezvous" in Lochsa ID. JAN Staff Presenting.
September 27, 2008. "Annual Occupational Medicine Conference - Tri-State Occupational Medical Association" in Columbus OH. JAN Staff Presenting
October 5-8, 2008. USBLN Annual Conference and Career Fair in Portland, OR. JAN staff presenting. http://www.usbln.org/
November 19-20, 2008. 17th Annual National Workers' Compensation and Disabilty Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, NV. Stop by the JAN booth in the exhibit hall. http://www.wcconference.com/
October 20, 2008. Federal White Sands Missile Base Disability Awareness Month, White Sands NM. JAN Staff providing training on job accommodations.
October 28, 2008. Allegheny County MH MR and the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh PA. JAN Staff Presenting.
October 29, 2008. Rhode Island Service Providers and Employers, Providence RI. Jan Staff Presenting on job accommodation and ADA issues.
November 19-20, 2008. 17th Annual National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference and Expo, Las Vegas NV. JAN Staff Exhibiting
El servicio en español de JAN se ha hecho disponible.
JAN está fuertemente comprometido en servir a La Fuerza Laboral Hispana. El alcance y esfuerzo de JAN ahora incluye consultas y asistencias técnicas en español. Visite http://askjan.org/espanol un recurso en línea disponible en español. Esta página, fue creada con la intención de que el publico o audiencia de habla-inglesa de JAN participe en el procesos de distribución de esta literatura a la comunidad hispana. Contacte JAN para mayor información.
JAN's Spanish translation service is now available.
JAN is strongly committed to the serving its Hispanic American workforce. JAN's outreach efforts now include consultation and technical assistance in Spanish. Visit http://askjan.org/espanol JAN's online resources available in Spanish. This page is intended for JAN's English-speaking audience who would like to help distribute JAN literature to the Hispanic community. Contact JAN directly for additional information.
JAN Web site: http://askjan.org
Call JAN: 800-526-7234 (Voice), 877-781-9403 (TTY), 304-293-5407 (Fax)
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This document was developed by the Job Accommodation Network, funded by a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (DOL079RP20426). The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Labor. Nor does mention of tradenames, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Labor.