There is an underrepresentation of diverse people with disabilities in the workplace. A staggering 22 percent of Canadians belong to people with disability. It is hard to notice this considerable number of people still experiencing ableism.
The root cause can range from minor to significant factors. These include discrimination, ignorance, and lack of knowledge of the disability umbrella.
It may surprise people that many common illnesses, such as ADHD and cancer, can also be a disability. But people with disability (PWD) are afraid to ask for special work consideration. This is due to stigma and social handicapping.
Companies have the power to ensure workplace inclusivity for all employees. But assessing risks for disability inclusion involves a giant leap. The same goes for integrating this into an organization’s policies.
If interested in learning more about disability inclusion, read below.
In this article
What Is Disability Inclusion?
Disability inclusion means PWDs have the same opportunities as people without disabilities. It is a movement of individuals and communities committed to inclusion.
Canada’s Disability Reference Guide defines disability as the limitation of major life activities. It also applies to the impairment and restriction of these. Meanwhile, inclusion ensures that everyone has an equal chance to take part in society. It requires recognizing and removing barriers to fair participation for people with disabilities.
Firms should not discriminate against work-qualified individuals with disabilities in employment. The same holds true for public accommodations and state and local government services. Unfortunately, most firms create an environment of negative attributes without realizing it. But ignorance doesn’t excuse anyone.
Disability Inclusion Practices
Understanding the hindrances PWDs face is essential in creating an inclusive work environment. Here are some of the practices that you should consider.
Safety and Accessibility
Safety is a concern for disabled people. One way to resolve this is to include them in the design of new products, buildings, and environments. It may range from as simple as the installation of a stair assist chair. Sometimes, it is as complicated as making a parking space near the entrance.
Another way is to ensure they access the same safety information as everyone else. Identifying the needs of disabled people and meeting them also affects the implementation. But, once firms establish these, focus on modifying and creating facilities can start.
Recognition and Awareness
Acknowledging that people with disabilities are not a homogenous group is essential. They have a variety of needs and preferences.
It is not enough to be accessible to PWDs. Firms must also create a space that answers their emotional needs.
Organizations should ensure that their culture supports disability inclusion practices. This includes making sure that employees are not creating social handicaps. They should avoid discrimination against their differences. Instead, they must commend their contributions.
Diversity on Policy
A formal written policy outlining disability inclusion practices is another pillar of inclusivity. A company’s policy on diversity and inclusion is not only a document that states the norm. It should also be a blueprint conformed with the government law.
Moreover, it should justify the rights of PWDs of any kind. Finally, it should help people feel accommodated, respected, and valued at work.
Legislation and attitudes about disability in the workplace have improved recently. Before establishing a line between employee diversity, focus on their possible contribution first.
There’s a vast gap between workplaces with disability inclusion practices and those without. Let’s try not to add to that fine line of discrimination and leave no one behind. Employees feel like they’re part of the team when accommodated for their work style. The same is true when sought for their contributions.