2013 National Disability Awareness theme: "Because We are EQUAL to the Task"

National Disability Awareness Month is upon us. The "Because We are EQUAL to the Task" is this year's theme.

Selected by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy-the federal office that develops policies and practices affecting individuals with disabilities-the goal of this year's theme is to enhance public awareness about the value, talent and skills individuals with disabilities can and do bring to the workforce.

Some perceive that those with disabilities aren't as qualified or hard working as others. This is simply not true, but in fact just the opposite.

Employees are the main reason for the success of many businesses. And statistics show that employers who are more inclusive of hiring and promoting employees with different backgrounds or talent pools are more successful.

The United States Department of Labor, businesses as well as various disability organizations all across the country are working in tandem to spread the word about this fact.

Discrimination on the basis of a disability

Many employers today have and do embrace individuals with disabilities and the skills they bring to the job. However, despite this, discrimination on the basis of an individual's disability still occurs every day in employment settings all across the country.

Fortunately, there are laws that prohibit such action. Employers are prohibited from taking negative action against certain employees or potential job applicants due to a prior or present disability. This can include actions relating to job termination, demotion, responsibility, pay, or benefits.

Employers are also barred from harassing or allowing harassment regarding an employee's disability. This can include teasing, joking, or remarks about the disability in isolation or in front of others.

The help of an employment law attorney

If you have faced discrimination on the basis of disability in the workforce, additional information on disability discrimination can be located via the ADA website. Consulting with an employment law attorney is also advised. A lawyer knowledgeable in this area of law can offer advice on potential legal recourse.

The campaign will run throughout the month of October. Toolkits and various resources are available to employers and educators via www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org.