Are you dealing with a form of disability discrimination? In a world where everyone is trying to be more politically correct, it’s hard to believe that discrimination is still something that people deal with every day.
Unfortunately, discrimination of all kinds is still very prevalent in the workplace; sometimes it’s obvious, other times it’s not. But disability discrimination is often something that can be seen and felt by everyone.
Just because you have the knowledge and experience to do the job, and you have the ability to do it better than someone else, does not mean you’ll automatically be selected.
Signs of Disability Discrimination
How do you know if you’re being discriminated against for a disability? Here are a few signs:
- Another employee is offered a project or job even though they’re less capable and have less experience.
- You’ve been overlooked for promotions and projects because your boss thinks you’re not up to it, or it might be too much of a challenge for you.
- You’ve been left out of important meetings or company activities because they didn’t think you could manage it; your disability would make it hard for you to attend.
- You’re consistently being asked if you need help to handle your job because of your disability.
- Co-workers have made insensitive jokes at your expense and embarrassment.
- Accommodations are not being met to help you do your job or access your place of employment (i.e., ramps, handicap accessible restrooms, devices to help the hearing impaired, tools to help with vision impairment).
- If you’re deaf, co-workers turn away from you when they speak so that you can’t read their lips, or they don’t provide closed captions for video communications.
What You Can Do
If you’ve experienced any of these forms of disability discrimination, you have rights, and you can force your company to make changes. Here are some things you can do to fight back:
Don’t Make Assumptions
Don’t assume you’re being overlooked for your disability. Look deeper into the issue. Did someone else get the promotion because they were better qualified or learned a new skill that is beneficial to the position? Try to be objective and look at the big picture, not just what you’re feeling in the moment.
File a Claim
If the discrimination is against you specifically for your disability, file a claim. The Americans with Disabilities Act is on your side.
First, make a claim to your company’s HR department. If it’s not handled there, you can take your case further, but you’ll need proof that you reported the discrimination to your employer and gave them the opportunity to correct it.
If your employer does not correct the situation, you have the right to report them to your state’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Field Office.
Don’t Provide Ammunition
Do not give them ammunition. Don’t complain about your disability or offer them any reason to think you’re not capable of the job. Always do your best work, show up on time, and be proactive about getting work done. Prove that you are qualified and capable.
Be a Professional
Maintain your professionalism. Present yourself as knowledgeable in your job and confident in your abilities to do it to everyone you work with, co-workers and clients alike.
Keep a written record of every instance of discrimination. Save emails and notes that refer to your disability. Create a document listing date, time, place, and parties involved for any verbal discrimination along with your notes of what was said, by whom, and how it was handled. This can help you later if you need to file a formal complaint.
You deserve to be treated fairly, and you have that right.
Don’t put up with discrimination; fight back.
Do You Need Help?
If you need help updating your resume, practicing for an interview, or organizing your job search information during these challenging times, consider reaching out to Rachel Schneider, CPC at Career Find to assist you.