Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Employer's in need of education when it comes to workers with disabilities

When it comes to the work place and the treatment of those of us living with a disability, some employers are simply missing the mark. This is a result of the employer’s lack of understanding of what individuals with disabilities go through on a day to day basis. What employer’s need to learn is that accommodating for workers with disabilities means more than just adding a few handicap parking spaces and putting in some automatic doors. It’s going to take the education of the employer’s and its employee’s about the facts about working with people with disabilities.

The major issue for me is that in society, if people don’t see a wheel chair or a cane or some sort of obvious sign of a disability, they jump to the conclusion that if you look perfectly fine then you are, this is so wrong, sometime’s it’s not so easy just by looking at someone to know if they have a physical disability or not. To me I really believe that employers need to start educating their employees in the area of working with those of us with disabilities. And sure some employers are doing a great job in this area but those who are failing need to wake up. For me the last place I thought I would run into a problem at work was with the HR department.

One year I happened to miss quite a few days of work, first for a work related arm injury and other times due to poor weather conditions. I was accused once by the HR department of using my disability as a excuse, this really upset me. You see there was a snow storm the night before work one day and this time there was so much snow I couldn’t even get my car out of the driveway and since my street hadn’t been cleared yet I wasn’t going anywhere. My work actually told me I should have taken a taxi or a bus to work, but as we know living with Becker's the winter can be a very tough time. They actually expected me to walk 5 kilometers through deep snow, and climb over snow banks just to get to the bus stop, they have no idea how much of a problem that would have been for me. And as far as a taxi no one was getting up or down my street unless they were in a 4X4.

As you can see the lack of education of my work places HR department and even its employee’s led to a lot of frustration at times. At one point I was put on modified duties due to a work related injury, at this time I was working in a call center, I was doing one hour on the phones the next hour off, and some of my co-workers who didn’t know my situation didn’t like this very much, so again here comes the rude comments and dirty looks. It was crazy that this was going on at my place of work, but what would yelling at people solve? So I just ignored them and went on with my day. To me when it comes down to it, I believe some employer’s need to do a better job of educating their employee’s, team leaders and HR department’s concerning co-workers with less recognizable disabilities. This way these simple problems I faced would be a thing of the past, making the work place a friendlier environment for those of us with disabilities.

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1 comment:

  1. My husband has BMD. Last year he badly broke his foot and had to use a wheelchair at work. He installs car audio equipment. His boss,who is also his brother, said it was embarrassing to have him working there while in a wheelchair. They treat him very badly. He has four kids to support and is the only one working, so his boss/brother knows he can treat him however he wants and my husband will stay since he isn't in the position to go anywhere else.