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Ableism has no place in your workplace

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2021 | Employment Law

If you live with a disability, it’s important for you to understand the term “ableism.” Ableism is a serious problem in many American workplaces, and it’s something that could make your work much more difficult.

There are millions of people living with disabilities in the United States. Despite that, there are still significant misconceptions about what people with disabilities can do and how they work in a work environment.

Understanding ableism

Ableism is defined as discriminating, oppressing or being prejudiced against someone living with a physical or mental disability. The core of this concept is that the ableist individual believes that those living with disabilities are inferior to those who do not live with disabilities.

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act largely aimed to reduce discrimination against people with disabilities, but this act is still often violated.

What are some examples of ableism?

Some simple examples of ableism include:

  • Discriminating against people who have disabilities
  • Building a business that is inaccessible to those in wheelchairs
  • Using signage that is inaccessible
  • Creating an inaccessible website design
  • Mocking those with disabilities

There are also ableist terms used by some discriminatory people. These terms might include outdated terms like:

  • Dumb
  • Psycho
  • Blind
  • Deaf

Nonableist language might include “vision impaired,” or “hearing impaired,” rather than blind or deaf.

In the workplace, ableism can make its appearance in one of several ways. It might show up as a coworker ignores that another person in the workplace has a disability. Comparing a disability with a temporary illness or injury, speaking on behalf of a co-worker with a disability or assuming that someone is faking a disability are all examples of ableism.

What can you do if your workplace is rife with ableism?

If people in your workplace have an ableist attitude, it’s time to discuss it. Ableism can be discriminatory, and it’s not fair for people living with disabilities to deal with those issues and misconceptions.

In some cases, those with disabilities, as well as supporting coworkers or supervisors, may have a claim against another party, like your employer or a client, for being discriminatory in the workplace.