Disability challenges come in all shapes and sizes. A person with disabilities (PWD) usually has a much harder time thriving in our society because others don’t have limitations … or even think about them. This may be particularly true with respect to career opportunities, hiring practices, and promotion.
Because of their disabilities, some employers, despite their desire to be fair, unconsciously perceive a person with a disability as incompetent or weak. This makes it difficult to get a job, to say the least. To be seen as a fully functional person takes a lot of effort to be compared only fairly to non-disabled applicants.
While almost everyone comes across situations that prevent them from achieving their goals in the workplace, there are many more obstacles that people with disabilities face. Below are the five most common barriers employers should be aware of (and addressing) in order to create a safe, healthy work culture for all.
1. Prejudice and stereotyping, consciously or otherwise
The main challenge for people with disabilities in employment typically revolves around prejudice and stereotypes. Far too many still consider a person with a disability to be weak and / or unable to meet job requirements. As a result, some companies or organizations may not even allow a PWD to advance to the interview phase of the application process. Again, this may not be a conscious bias on the part of the employer, but it is nonetheless a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On the other hand, some employees and customers, when employed, may show a negative attitude towards a PWD. This is a dynamic that can no longer be denied as research and data consistently show that many people with disabilities simply do not feel welcome in their workplace. Any indication of stigma is detrimental to the general wellbeing of the individual and has a negative impact on the workplace as a whole. That should be a matter of course for every employee Discrimination in the workplace is illegal and will not be tolerated.
2. Program and policy barriers can unwittingly multiply the challenges of disability
There are still companies today that impose guidelines that only an able-bodied employee can possibly follow. For manufacturing and production jobs, for example, companies can set a quota that an employee must meet every day.
It is important to remember that people, disabled or not, do not move at the same speed. Disabled people can find quotas discriminatory. The time they have to complete the task may not be sufficient or the PWD may not be able to meet the daily quotas for some reason.
People who have difficulty keeping up with other employees require consideration and special treatment. While it is good to treat a person with a disability like everyone else, especially to create a mutual environment, there are times when you need to be accommodating as well.
One way to solve this is to use different guidelines that specifically address the challenges facing people with disabilities. Alternatively, the employer can offer training to help them master their specific roles. Fortunately, there are also companies like cdslifetransitions.org who offer assistance to disabled people in their search for professional interests. Organizations like these provide on-the-job support so that the PWD can improve the skills required for the job they are considering.
3. Physical barriers
Aside from the mental, emotional, and psychological challenges for a PWD, to date there are physical limitations that often prevent it from functioning fully. These are environmental and structural problems that artificially prevent them from maximizing their potential.
This may include the lack of equipment suitable for a person’s handicap or the lack of an elevator and wheelchair ramp. This can manifest itself in a lack of special amenities such as a comfort room, accessible seating and modern toilets that a facility does not offer. If a company maintains facilities that meet the requirements of a PWD, they go a long way towards increasing productivity.
A PWD feels welcome thanks to the disabled-friendly design of the workplace. It creates a conducive environment so that they can work productively. It also sends a strong message to non-disabled employees. Your workplace is a welcoming environment for visits from friends and family who also face disabilities.
4. Communication problems
Before hiring a PWD, companies should be able to know and understand their needs in order to provide a Accepting work environment for her. Some disability challenges make communication difficult. Your workplace should both expect and take into account this reality.
For visually impaired people, look out for missing items in Braille. People with cognitive impairments encounter specialist terminology that can disrupt their flow of communication. For deaf and dumb people, a company-wide lack of sign language skills will make it difficult to share information. These are just a few of the issues that concern communication. HR staff should speak to them right away, as communication in the workplace is vital.
If teaching all employees how to deal with disabled people is impractical, name at least one. Make sure your PWD employee has at least one trusted advocate on staff.
5. Difficulty building relationships
Despite good intentions and best efforts from everyone, a disabled person may feel incompetent. Often this is simply because of how their work environment is set up.
People with disabilities are sometimes judged more severely than others. This could be due to the misperception that they are unable to keep up with the pace set by the majority. Instead of opening up to their feelings, they begin to isolate themselves and set unhealthy boundaries. This is where misunderstandings and mistrust often set in.
It is important to build positive relationships in the workplace. This is the first step in teamwork. Leaving a single person behind is also a blow to productivity. If left unattended, it can interfere with the entire workflow.
There are many reasons why many people with disabilities are reluctant to apply for a job. Perhaps the biggest is that they feel that not all employees are treating them kindly.
Challenges with disabilities should never have the final say
It shouldn’t matter what social class you belong to or what gender and race you belong to. Everyone wants a place where it is safe and comfortable to be themselves.
Nobody likes discrimination or unjust restrictions. Nobody likes artificial barriers to career advancement or unemployment due to discrimination. Everyone deserves a chance to achieve their goals despite being disabled.
We can build such a world where everyone gets along. A great first step is to stop preventing people with disabilities from finding meaningful employment. Make the necessary adjustments to your workplace to meet the needs of all employees.