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Professor Doron Dorfman Describes "Fear of the Disability Con" to Bloomberg Law

Posted on Monday 10/25/2021
Doron Dorfman

Employers Have the Power to Make Workplaces More Accessible

(Bloomberg Law | Oct. 22, 2021) October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge the workplace contributions made by employees with disabilities. It is also a time to recognize that reasonable accommodations are so difficult to obtain that the U.S. workplace remains inaccessible to people with disabilities.

Reasonable accommodations require medical documentation of disability, and as my Fordham Law Review article “Disability Without Documentation” contends, obtaining sufficient medical documentation is time-consuming, costly, and humiliating, as well as legally suspect. Employers have the power to eliminate medical documentation requirements, and in turn, render their workplaces more inclusive ...

... Concerns that disability will be overclaimed perpetuate ableist stereotypes about people with disabilities, what Syracuse University College of Law Professor Doron Dorfman refers to as “Fear of the Disability Con.” People with disabilities do not exaggerate; rather, disability is underclaimed, and the ADA, underenforced. But if some documentation is needed, make it minimal. For example, an employee with an asthma medication prescription should be able to submit their prescription records to confirm their asthma diagnosis. No doctor need be involved.

Employers would benefit from a streamlined reasonable accommodations process too. Employees will spend the time that would otherwise be wasted chasing down disability verification being productive employees. Employers will have less paperwork to collect and review ...

Read the full article.