On July 26, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) applies to job applicants and employees with vision impairments.
More specifically, the new EEOC guidance addresses the following topics:
- When an employer may ask an applicant or employee questions regarding their vision impairment and how an employer should treat such voluntary disclosures;
- What type of reasonable accommodation an applicant or employee with a visual impairment may need;
- How an employer should handle safety concerns concerning an applicant or employee with a visual impairment; and
- How an employer can ensure that no employee is harassed because of a visual impairment.
The recommended guidance follows the EEOC’s recent publication that contains a series of question-and-answers that address particular disabilities.
The guidance is an excellent resource for employers in providing examples of common situations that may arise with employees and applicants with visual disabilities. For example, the newest release provides a non-exhaustive list of possible vision related accommodations, such as: assistance technology (such as text-to-speech software); accessible materials (such as braille or large print); modification of workplace/employer policies or procedures; testing; ambient adjustments (such as brighter office lights); or sight assistance or services (such as a qualified reader).
The EEOC guidelines are very complex and employers should consult with an attorney that is familiar with EEOC compliance guidelines.
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