Working With A Disability

Just because a person has a disability, does not mean that they shouldn’t be able to work. Just under 20% of Americans have a disability, that equates to around 53 million people. 53 million people that have repeatedly been told that they can’t work. But why shouldn’t they? Providing they are able to use their brains, why shouldn’t they have a job like everyone else? Isn’t that the main requirement for most jobs? No one would tell Stephen Hawking not to work, and he’s severely disabled.

The reality is that yes, anyone should be able to work as long as they can perform the task. But that doesn’t mean that every job is open to every person. Everyone in the world has to have the right qualifications and skills for certain jobs, if a person has autism and a masters degree, does that mean they aren’t as good for the job as any other graduate? Due to the manner of some disabilities, it might not be feasible for them to work certain jobs. Physical disabilities can limit people from doing physical jobs. A building site isn’t a safe place or someone in a wheelchair for example. The reality is that where every job should be open to people of all abilities – it’s just not always possible.

But no one has the right to dismiss someone for having a disability. It can be mutually agreed that they aren’t suited to the role, but it is illegal for them to be dismissed because of a disability or illness. If, however, they have followed all the right procedures and training and the person hasn’t improved, then they can dismiss them. As they can with any employee. The Heller, Maas & Magill blog goes into detail about the laws surrounding disabled workers, and what can be done if these laws are broken, or even bent.

If a disabled person is hired, they are within their rights for their employers to make certain concessions. Like a height appropriate desk, or clear walkways for people in wheelchairs. For interpreters and braille to be utilized within the workplace, and even to have a bed and bowl for a working dog to rest.   

But, at the same time, the employer can’t re-organize their entire office for one person. They might be able to easily provide a height appropriate desk, but they might not be able to re-fit the staff kitchen with a lower side. An interpreter might be invited to meetings and other important gatherings, but they might not be able to afford to hire them every day.

Unfortunately, adapting life is something a disabled person is used to doing on a daily basis, and where employers should be making their workspaces as accessible as possible, not every box can be ticked.

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