The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released an updated technical assistance document, “Visual Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” explaining how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to job applicants and employees with visual disabilities on July 26, 2023.
The document outlines when an employer may ask an applicant or employee questions about their vision, how an employer should treat voluntary disclosures about visual disabilities, and what types of reasonable accommodations those with visual disabilities may need in the workplace. The updated document highlights new technologies for reasonable accommodation, many of which are free or low-cost, and describes how using artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms to make employment decisions can impact individuals with visual disabilities.
The document addresses how an employer should handle safety concerns about applicants and employees with visual disabilities and how an employer can ensure that no employee is harassed because of a visual disability.
“The ADA became law 33 years ago today and continues to provide vital protections for workers, including those with visual disabilities,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “Providing reasonable accommodations is an employer’s responsibility. Workers who have vision impairments, including limited or low vision, should be provided the resources needed to succeed. This document will provide employers the guidance to do so.”
Many individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or have other vision-related conditions can perform successfully on the job and should not be denied opportunities because of stereotypical and generalized negative assumptions. The document also discusses harassment and retaliation.