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Accommodations for the Undead and the ADA

In this month of Halloween, we must consider the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in terms of the growing need for companies to accommodate those among us who are dead, quasi-dead, undead or aspiring to become undead. This includes the obvious vampires and zombies, but also a long list of less well-recognized conditions such as banshees, poltergeists, wraiths, liches, revenants, mummies and ghouls.

An individual with a disability is defined in the act like someone who has “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.” As recently as 2014 it was unclear if the ADA covered the undead. However, that year the Supreme Court opined in the case of State of Colorado v. Nosferatu that “Seriously? This guy can’t go out in the daytime! Heck yeah, that limits one or more major life activities.” 

Since then. Subsequent courts have extended the precedent not just to the undead, but also to werewolves, fairies, sasquatches, and monsters assembled by mad scientists out of spare body parts.  

Here are three tips on sourcing & recruiting employees with vampirism 

1. Educate yourself, and your team about diversity

The first and most important step towards capitalizing on differences has to start with you. Educate yourself about vampires so that you are prepared to take a leadership role in educating your team. Fear is your single most challenging barrier. Once your team understands that vampires do not pose a threat to their safety or the wellbeing of your organization, you can begin to create a fully accessible, barrier-free and vampire-friendly workplace.

Sensitivity training can be a good idea as well, to ensure that the workplace is free of offensive terminology or humor. For instance, people with Vampirism find the constant pop-culture (e.g., Twilight or True Blood) references to be tired and lame. 

2. Form creative partnerships to access unique talent

Vampires have been feared and marginalized by society since (literally) the beginning of time. As such, people with vampirism tend to get “lost” in traditional recruitment processes. Additionally, because not all vampires are what we call “work-ready” (unfortunately some are still of the blood-sucking, villainous variety), employers need help identifying who is ready for the contemporary workforce and will be a good fit within their corporate culture.

Leading American companies that want to be progressive in their hiring practices can partner with organizations like ours, which can assist with screening talent and guiding employers through the process.

Credentialing is one of the most significant challenges for employers who have no way to verify educational achievements that, for instance, may have been obtained in Transylvania in the year 1889. FirstIdea can help to bring down these kinds of barriers.

3. Accommodate differences

Once you have sourced and recruited employees with vampirism, you may face additional challenges if you are not open-minded and prepared to make the role accessible to Vampires.

Employers that have taken the appropriate steps tell us that the accommodations were inexpensive and easy, and had a positive impact on everyone at the workplace. Here are some examples of straightforward vampire accommodations:

  • Implement a garlic-free workplace
  • Allow flexible hours to assist him/her in avoiding sunlight
  • Provide a workspace that has no exposure to direct sunlight
  • Allocate space in the break-room fridge for your vampire employees’
      unconventional liquid lunches

Despite the seemingly insurmountable barriers faced by Vampires, many leading employers have recognized and capitalized upon the potential and diversity that the undead brings to the workplace. Unfortunately, the most significant barrier faced by vampires is fear – employers who are afraid of the unknown and too scared to take risks are missing out on top talent.