Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace
Based on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), there are physical and emotional challenges that disabled veterans face, reasonable accommodations that disabled veterans can legally request to prevent the challenges and accommodations offered to different groups protected by ADA (Understanding Your Employment Rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, n.d.). The emotional and physical challenges that disabled veterans encounter include spinal cord injuries, hearing loss, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), missing limbs, burns and traumatic brain injuries. Disabled veterans can make use of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to request for reasonable accommodations that address the challenges they face. USERRA requires employers to strive to offer disabled veterans accommodation and return the veteran to the post he would have been employed in if he was not in military service (Understanding Your Employment Rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, n.d.). ADA limits the medical data that employers may obtain that would make them harass disabled employees and prohibits employers from treating employees unfavorably in promotions, hiring, training, termination and job assignments especially those with disabilities.
ADA protects people with concentration, walking, sight, hearing, neurological system and brain challenges (Understanding Your Employment Rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, n.d.). The aging workforce and new mothers are not categorised among these groups hence they are not protected by the ADA law. However, the blind and deaf workers are among the people with hearing, and sight challenges hence are protected by ADA (Public Accommodations, 2018). The types of accommodation offered to a blind person include accepting him or her as an employee as long as one is qualified for the job, offering visual aids and conducive working environment where the employee can easily access. Deaf people receive assistance by offering them equal employment opportunities as other job applicants, acquiring auxiliary aids and services and avoiding to charge the employee for services offered due to their disability.
Cross-Cultural Communication in the Workplace
Finding employees from diverse cultures in one organization is common. Different races and countries have varying characteristics hence making employees who come from different countries to have different personalities. Hofstede proposed six dimensions of national cultures that determine the culture of a country. They include power distance, masculinity, individualism, long-term orientation, uncertainty avoidance, and indulgence. Based on Hofstede Insights, U.S. and China have varying scores on the dimensions of national culture. Power distance focuses on the acceptance and expectation of less powerful people in a country that there is power inequality in the society. It enables employees to understand how to handle their leaders as high power distance makes workers defend against power abuse by their managers (Hofstede, 2011). Power distance in China is high (80) while in the US it is low (40). Individualism is the level of interdependence among people in the society. It enables workers to understand how to interrelate with their colleagues especially those from different countries as those with high individualism like taking care of themselves while those with low individualism prefer working in groups. China's individualism score is low (20) while US individualism score is high (91) (Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights, 2018). Uncertainty avoidance refers to the level that people feel threatened by unknown situations and strive to avoid them. It helps employees know if they work risk-takers or risk-averse people. High uncertainty avoidance shows that employees try to avoid taking risks. China has low uncertainty avoidance score (30) while the US has a score of 46 which is low however slightly higher than in China.
One of the experiences I have had involving cross-cultural communication is a group discussion with an Asian team member in school. I ensured that I avoided jargons and metaphors and always enquired if what I said was clear for effective communication and I was able to avoid any misunderstandings during the communication. Some of the techniques that people can use to minimize cross-cultural communication misunderstandings in workplaces include showing interest in the other party's culture, being inquisitive on issues one does not understand well and understanding the other party's personality based on his or her culture (Korgen, Korgen & Giraffe, 2015).
Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights. (2018). Hofstede Insights. Retrieved from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/china,the-usa/
Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context. Online readings in psychology and culture, 2(1), 8.
Korgen, K. O., Korgen, J. O., & Giraffe, V. (2015). Social issues in the workplace. Bridgeport Education, Inc.
Public Accommodations. (2018). National Association of the Deaf. Retrieved from https://www.nad.org/resources/civil-rights-laws/americans-with-disabilities-act/public-accommodations/
Understanding Your Employment Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A Guide for Veterans. Eeoc.gov. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/ada_veterans.cfm
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