Finding and retaining a job has unique challenges when you have disabilities. However, your condition should not prevent you from finding meaningful work and receiving fair and professional treatment in the workplace.
Your disability should never be an excuse for your employer to treat you differently, thus impacting your career goals. Knowing your rights as a disabled worker can help you advocate for your needs.
Accommodations to improve function
Your condition might require accommodation for you to perform your job with ease and efficiency. Inaccessible or non-existent resources can interfere with your productivity and your morale. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act requires employers to meet a utilization rate of 7% regarding affirmative action. This means employers have the obligation to hire disabled workers and provide the critical means to support career development.
Some examples of accommodations your employer will need to provide include the following:
- ADA restrooms and office meeting spaces
- Closed captioning for strategizing sessions
- Sign language interpreters for virtual meetings
- Modifications to make the workspace more accommodating
Fair and professional treatment
You deserve fair and professional treatment in the workplace from both colleagues and superiors. It is against the law for anyone to discriminate against you or mistreat you. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 both actively protect you against mistreatment. If you have issues in the workplace, immediately report your situation to the human resources department. If the behavior against you continues, you might need to take your complaints to a higher authority.
Regardless of your disabled status, you deserve access to all the same resources as your colleagues to perform your job and build your career.