Reasonable Accommodations for Amputees in the Workplace

The Americans With Disability Act requires all organizations with fifteen or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for their employees with disabilities. While employers have a general understanding of how to accommodate most of their employees, understanding how to adapt to amputees is a challenge for most. 

Accommodating those in a wheelchair or with a prosthetic leg is often easier than helping someone with an amputated arm. The functions of nearly every job in the country require two working upper limbs. So, what can you do to help these employees perform their job to the best of their ability? 

The Interview

Around the country, every veterans discrimination attorney recommends starting with an open conversation during the interview. While potential hires do not have to disclose their disability with a possible employer, amputations are already out in the open. 

Prepare your second interview with questions about the struggles an amputee faces and what you can do to help accommodate them. Remember that each case is different. Some employees will require varying levels and types of accommodations to perform their job. 

Be sensitive and understanding to the challenges these individuals face, but don’t shy away from the hard questions. The sooner you place workplace difficulties out in the open, the easier they are resolve. If you need to, hire a consultant that can assess the situation and recommend accommodations. 

The Primary Solution

In most cases, an artificial limb and voice-to-text software is all you’ll need to aid your employee. Prosthetic limbs often include a way for individuals to grab items, offering them a pseudo-second hand that they can type or carry items with. Insurance companies usually pay the full cost of these devices, too. 

Voice-to-text software is also essential to helping amputees perform their job functions, especially in office settings. The computer they use must be equipped with a headset or microphone, allowing them to dictate their words into documents instead of typing them. 

Other Considerations

Another way to aid your employees is to reassess the tools they use each day, like their keyboard. Companies create specialty keyboards designed to work with amputees. These keyboards, promoted by the Alliance for Technology Access, work wonders on employee productivity in the event of an amputation. 

Other items like rollerballs in place of a mouse make it easier for employees to conduct their work with a prosthetic limb. Disability lawyers in LA have helped employees by having their employers acquire desk chairs with individually adjusted armrests, offering a larger workspace that allows necessary tools to be within reach, and prosthetic computer devices. 

Finally, consider the stress operating with one limb places on the body. Make sure to offer your amputee employees breaks when they need them and ways to relieve the weight of a partial or artificial limb throughout the day. 

Accommodating amputees might seem challenging at first, but proper education on workplace aids is all it takes to help them with their productivity. The more you learn about varying disabilities, the more capable you become as an employer.