accomodation for filing

We are hiring a benefits assistant for our office. Found the perfect candidate. She happens to be in a wheelchair so we (HR) was brainstorming today to see if we had any places in the building that may need to be upgraded. The building is fairly new and we think all areas are easily accessible. Of course, she may find something and we'll just take care of it.

But someone asked about filing which is a part of this job. We have 4 drawer files and I can't think how someone would reach the top drawer, and possibly even the 2nd drawer, from a chair. I know I have to stand up when I file in either drawer.

I'm sure someone out there has run into this and there is probably a simple answer staring me in my face - can't see it for the trees you know. We have an employment assistant only. Each would normally be responsble for thier own filing. The only thing we've come up with is to split the filing up so that our new asst files in the bottom two drawers.

Anything else? Of course we'll ask her for her input, but I'd like your ideas. I can't imagine why we haven't run into this before.


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  • You're to be applauded for your approach to this situation and your openly positive attitude about accommodation. I know lots of suggestions will come forward including vertical filing and two drawer files, etc. I think you are right that she will have suggestions and you will be able to work with those. Your attitude alone makes me know it will be no continuing problem. This is such a refreshing question as opposed to one which might ask, "What must we absolutely do to accommodate?" Or worse, "Can we terminate this woman?" Thanks for making my day! x:-)
  • I wholeheartedly agree with Don. Nice to hear this working in such an uplifting way. Good job.
  • Wow! Thanks for the compliment Don! It's been one of those days and I really could use any pats on the back I could get. I had to do a performance appraisal today that wasn't stellar and had to deal with an employee crying in my office. Then had another employee who was being disciplined for allowing a contract to overrun by $150k and he's known to be quite hot-headed. Oh, so the days of HR go.

    But the really good news is that we've killed two birds with one stone with our solution to the filing problem. Currently we have one hanging folder per employee which contains several regular manilla folders - one for employment, one for benefits, one for 401k, etc. Since this new position will be dealing with benefits only, and our other assistant will be dealing with employment related "stuff" only, we're going to split the files. Have one hanging folder with the employment stuff in the upper drawers, and another with the benefit stuff in the lower drawers. Win Win I think. :) We came up with a painless accomodation for everyone and I get to do what I've wanted to do since I got here - split up the files! :)
  • Ahhh, the beauty of unintended consequences!
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