Quick Page Links

California Model Employer Initiative Training

For more information please visit the California Model Employer Initiative Training Page.

Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP)

For more information please visit the Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP) Page.

Disability Etiquette

Disability Etiquette - Tips on Interacting with people with disabilities:
Includes a listing of various types of disabilities and tips on interacting with people with the disability listed.

Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities: Ten easy and simple ideas to follow to ensure appropriate communication with an individual with a disability.

Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities:

  1. Speak directly rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter who may be present.
  2. Offer to shake hands when introduced. People with limited hand use or an artificial limb can usually shake hands and offering the left hand is acceptable greeting.
  3. Always identify yourself and others who may be with you when meeting someone with a visual disability. When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking. When dining with a friend, who has a visual disability, ask if you can describe what is on his or her plate.
  4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen or ask for instructions.
  5. Treat adults as adults. Address people with disabilities by their first names only when extending the same familiarity to all others. Never patronize people in wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.
  6. Do not lean against or place your hand on someone's wheelchair. Bear in mind that people with disabilities treat their chairs as extensions of their bodies.
  7. Listen attentively when talking with people who have difficulty speaking and wait for them to finish. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, or a nod of the head. Never pretend to understand; instead repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond.
  8. Place yourself at eye level when speaking with someone in a wheelchair or on crutches.
  9. Tap a person who has a hearing disability on the shoulder or wave your hand to get his or her attention. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and expressively to establish if the person can read your lips. If so, try to face the light source and keep hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. If a person is wearing a hearing aid, don't assume that they have the ability to discriminate your speaking voice. Never shout at a person. Just speak in a normal tone of voice.
  10. Relax. Don't be embarrassed if you happen to use common expressions such as "See you Later" or "Did you hear about this?" that seem to relate to a person's disability.

"The Ten Commandments" were adapted from many sources as a public service by United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc. (UCPA). UCPA's version of "The Ten Commandments" was updated by Irene M. Ward & Associates (Columbus, Ohio), also as a public service, and to provide the most current language possible for its video entitled "The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities".

Disability Friendly Strategies for the Workplace:
Samples of strategies to make the workplace more inviting to individuals with disabilities.

Employers who include disability issues in corporate diversity policies enrich and enhance workplace benefits in the new economy. Such benefits include diverse leadership, innovation, increase in overall morale and the ability to cast a wider recruiting net. Outlined below are strategies to successfully incorporate persons with disabilities into the workplace.

Make a corporate commitment to include persons with disabilities among your stakeholders.
Is the CEO committed to a disability friendly workplace? Do corporate policies, procedures and practices specifically mention disability? Do person with disabilities serve on the board? Are workers with disabilities employed at all skill levels in the workforce, including senior management positions? Are your products or services marketed to customers with disabilities?

Educate all staff on disability.
Does new staff orientation include disability awareness training? Are training materials available in alternate formats such as large print, Braille, and captioning? Do employees with disabilities serve as mentors for new hires who do not have disabilities?

Provide ongoing information on disability.
Are staff familiar with legislation pertaining to disability? Is disability information provided routinely in the company newsletter or on an intranet site? Are disability resources in the community contacted to help injured workers return to the workplace as soon as possible?

Form a disability support group.
Do employees with disabilities meet to discuss disability employment issues? Does this group have authority to make recommendations to management? Is all staff aware of this group and the contributions it makes to corporate success?

Provide accessible facilities and services.
Are buildings, parking areas, work spaces, and communication systems accessible to persons with disabilities?

Accommodate applicants and workers with disabilities.
Is there a central source and budget for accommodations? Are applicants and employees informed that accommodations are available if needed? Does staff routinely stay abreast of new developments in universal and assistive technology?

Project a disability friendly image to attract candidates and customers with disabilities.
Do college recruiters target students with disabilities when making campus calls? Do recruiters search for resumes on disability-related Web sites? Are recruiters and other personnel responsible for establishing working relationships with community agencies serving applicants with disabilities?

Hire applicants with disabilities.
Do recruiters regularly attend employment fairs for candidates with disabilities or target students at colleges with known populations of students with disabilities such as Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf?

Train and advance workers with disabilities.
Do employees with disabilities routinely participate in employer-sponsored training opportunities? If not, has this issue been brought before the Disability Support Group for recommendations? Are procedures in place to promote qualified employees with disabilities to management and supervisory positions?

Encourage staff to volunteer in the community.
Is staff encouraged to build relationships with disability community service organizations? Does staff make regular visits to high schools to inform administrators, teachers and students with disabilities about open houses or job trends in your industry?

Source: This information was prepared in cooperation with the Business Leadership Network (BLN), an employer-led endeavor of the Office of Disability Employment Policy supported by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. This program promotes best disability employment practices to enhance employment opportunities for job candidates who happen to have disabilities. For more information about the BLN and other programs of the Office of Disability Employment Policy check out our Web site or call 202-693-7880.

Disability Diversity Training

Windmills: Free disability diversity/awareness training, breaking barriers.
This program is designed for Human Resource, hiring managers and supervisors to successfully include persons with disabilities as an excellent labor resource. It focuses on attitudes and human factors, as well as concerns and issues related to legal requirements and accommodation.

Disability Law

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Information and Technical Assistance for Americans with Disabilities Act can be found on the ADA website. The ADA Information Line provides information about the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Department of Justice ADA Guidance for Employers:
Several employer guidance documents pertaining to the ADA.

  1. ADA Employment Questions and Answers for Business
  2. ADA Guide for Small Businesses
  3. ADA Small Business Tax Incentives Packet
  4. Readily Achievable Checklist for Existing Business Facilities
  5. ADA Information Services

Disability Access Information Website
The purpose of the Disability Access Information Website is to provide information and links on the major laws, regulations and areas of interest regarding disability rights and access for Californians with disabilities and other interested persons.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ADA Guidance for Employers:
EEOC: Quick Start for Employers

Law, Health Policy & Disability Center:
Based at the University of Iowa College of Law, the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center concentrates on public policy and its impact on persons with disabilities.

Pacific ADA Center:
The Pacific ADA Center is one of 10 federally funded regional resource centers on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that provides information, problem solving assistance and referrals for implementing the ADA.


Job Accommodation Network (JAN):
A free consulting service that provides information about job accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the employability of people with disabilities.


Contact IconContact WDS

For Workforce Development questions, or to request the contact information of an Employment Coordinator in your area, please email us at

Workforce Development Links


StarSuccess Story

"It is always a pleasure to participate in events sponsored by the Diversity Employment Source, a project of the Department of Rehabilitation, especially the annual Cinco de Mayo Career Expo. Our partnership has helped Washington Mutual's California business leaders continue to achieve their hiring goals, by attracting quality, talented professionals."

Joanne M. Salak, Regional Sourcing Manager
Washington Mutual Bank