02 SES 06 C, Transitions: What Contributes to Success in VET?
The right to a job is a fundamental Human Right and Italian law (68/99) requires employers to hire a percentage of disabled workers, legislation in itself is unable to ensure their effective inclusion in companies especially for people with intellectual disabilities (Hwang & Roulstone, 2015; Lalive et al., 2013; Bickenbach, 2015).
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities introduces the concept of reasonable accommodation as the necessary and appropriate changes and adjustments put in place to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy human rights on an equal basis with others.
Disability management analysis has focused on the issue of matching companies’ productivity goals with the needs of disabled workers, and reasonable accommodation is conceived as an interactive process involving employees and employers but also colleagues and service providers (Ulich& Wülser, 2015). The literature emphasizes some important issues:
the benefits associated with the provision of reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities and also for organizations ( Peterson, 2015; Schwegler et al., 2015);
the accommodation process in relation to specific disabilities (physical disability, neurological diseases and mental illness) and the importance of organizational changes and the procedures needed to carry out the tasks required (McGuire et al., 2015; Harris et al., 2015)
the decision making in relation to the request for and the granting of special arrangements. There emerged some risks for the workers in declaring their disabilities, especially when these were not visible, related to the stigma or negative reactions from employers and colleagues and discrimination. Conversely, the biggest stumbling block for employers was the cost involved and the risk that the cost was too high compared to the benefits (Larson, & Ellexson, 2015).
the coach’s role who, depending on the type of organization, may be the owner, human resources manager or a colleague who works closely with the disabled person when he/she first joins the company. The tutor becomes the point of reference and his main tasks is to supervise the work and evaluate the performance of the disabled person (Gold et al., 2012; Pachoud & Allemand, 2013; Belval et al., 2015).
Despite these numerous studies, there are some limitations in the existing research. First, most of the empirical studies have focused on certain variables and specific outcomes without considering a more comprehensive approach, together with a comparison of the experiences of the three stakeholder groups most involved: employees, employers, and service providers. Secondly, the data available do not allow for an in-depth understanding of the variables involved in the decision making process. Finally, rehabilitation professionals and consumers lack an empirically-backed list of factors related to the requests and provision of reasonable accommodations in the workplace (Dong et al., 2012).
Our research aims to identify which accommodations can be negotiated within organizations and the elements that influence the decision to grant (or refuse) this accommodation. Focusing on a sample of small and medium Italian enterprises, we interviewed employers and disabled employees and examined which types of accommodations can be introduced. Moreover, through the analysis of five case studies we classified the key elements facilitating the negotiation of these accommodations between employers and workers within organizations. Finally, we offer practical suggestions for improving the management of this experience.
Bickenbach, J. (2015). Legal Dimensions of Disability Evaluation: Work Disability and Human Rights. In Handbook of Vocational Rehabilitation and Disability Evaluation (pp. 141-160). Springer International Publishing. Gold, P. B., Oire, S. N., Fabian, E. S., & Wewiorski, N. J. (2012). Negotiating reasonable workplace accommodations: perspectives of employers, employees with disabilities, and rehabilitation service providers. Journal of Voc Rehabil, 37(1), 25–37. Hwang, S. K., & Roulstone, A. (2015). Enterprising? Disabled? The status and potential for disabled people’s microenterprise in South Korea. Disability & Society, 30(1). Lalive R. et al. (2013). Do financial incentives affect firms’ demand for disabled workers?” Journal of the european economic association, February 2013, 11(1). Ulich, E., & Wülser, M. (2015). Mitarbeitende mit Handicap–“Disability Management by Ability Management”. In Gesundheitsmanagement in Unternehmen (pp. 297-320). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. McGuire, C., Kristman, V. L., Shaw, W., Williams-Whitt, K., Reguly, P., & Soklaridis, S. (2015). Supervisor Autonomy and Considerate Leadership Style are Associated with Supervisors’ Likelihood to Accommodate Back Injured Workers. Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 1-10. Peterson, D. B. (2015). Mental Health Management in Vocational Rehabilitation and Disability Evaluation: Applying the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Conceptual Framework. In Handbook of Vocational Rehabilitation and Disability Evaluation (pp. 295-316). Springer International Publishing. Harris, L., Melville, C., Jones, N., Pert, C., Boyle, S., Murray, H., ... & Hankey, C. (2015). A single-blind, pilot randomised trial of a weight management intervention for adults with intellectual disabilities and obesity: study protocol. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 1(1), 5. Schwegler, U., Selb, M., Escorpizo, R., & Stucki, G. (2015). Selection of ICF Core Sets for Functioning Assessment in Disability Evaluation Toward the Assignment to Return to Work Programs and/or Disability Benefits. Kulkarni M., Kote J. (2013). Increasing Employment of People with Disabilities: The Role and Views of Disability Training and Placement Agencies. Employ Respons Rights J Larson, B. A., & Ellexson, M. T. (2015). The Principles and Practice of Work and Ergonomics. In International Handbook of Occupational Therapy Interventions (pp. 687-696). Springer International Publishing. Belval, K. K., Goertzen, T. D., Lancaster, C. W., & Wilcox, N. K. (2015). SYSTEM AND METHOD TO HANDLE REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS VIA A LEAVE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. U.S. Patent No. 20,150,019,278. Washington, DC. Pachoud, B., & Allemand, C. (2013). Supported employment (or job coaching practices): A new strategy for the professional integration of people disabled for psychiatric reasons. EVOLUTION PSYCHIATRIQUE, 78(1), 107-117.
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