Came across this post on LinkedIn the other day, reminding us all about the importance of giving disabled Americans the chance to prove themselves in the workplace.
Included in the general reminder by Amber Fritsch, a talent-management consultant, were other reminders for employers — including the new provisions regarding leave as a reasonable accommodation — the Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act — released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this year. Would be nice to think we’re moving in the right direction toward giving the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities a fair shake in corporate America.
But then I harked back to something I had come across earlier in the year — a mention of a movie I can’t say I’ve seen and can’t say I want to: Me Before You.
According to this recent post by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, p
She thinks a serious, systemic and ongoing communications campaign highlighting the benefits of inclusive hiring and self-employment is needed in this country so “people with disabilities can achieve the American dream, just like anyone else.”
Not sure why this hasn’t happened yet. Also not sure what the underlying problem is. And it’s not like we haven’t probed the matter. This recent HREOnline™ news analysis shows problems of recognizable bias in the hiring process still in existence at a majority of companies.
As Paula Brantner, executive director of Workplace Fairness in Silver Spring, Md., says in that story:
“You start with the adherence to the law [i.e., the Americans with Disabilities Act], but until you get to where people can actually work side-by-side with someone who has a disability, it’s going to be hard to overcome some of those deeply held biases that are really unfounded in reality.
“HR needs to send the message that this is a company that welcomes workers with disabilities and then facilitate that process every step of the way.”
HRE Editor David Shadovitz’s more-positive HRE Daily post last year at least cites some evidence that disabled workers and job applicants are starting to overcome some of these barriers.
The post includes statistics from John O’Neill, director of employment and disability research at the Kessler Foundation, showing that roughly 16 percent of those with disabilities say they’ve experienced barriers resulting from supervisors’ attitudes and about the same proportion experienced barriers resulting from co-workers’ attitudes.
But when you ask them about their ability to overcome those barriers, about 41 percent of the former said they were able to do that and 54 percent of the latter said the same.
So there’s hope. But the overcoming efforts shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of disabled workers alone.