How disability discrimination costs workers and employers

Some people in Tennessee with disabilities might not have informed their employers about their conditions. A study conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation found that only 21 percent of people with disabilities told human resources about them while fewer than 40 percent let their managers know.

People with disabilities may be hesitant to report their conditions because they still face discrimination in the workplace. Employees with and without disabilities report a similar degree of ambition. However, 57 percent of people with disabilities say they feel stalled in their careers while only 44 percent of individuals without them say the same. Over 33 percent of workers reported discrimination. Forty-four percent of people with visible disabilities had experienced discrimination. Some of the forms this discrimination might take include assuming that a person with a disability is unable to do a job or complete it quickly.

While some employers may discriminate, there are others that are unaware of employee disabilities and might take steps to fix the situation if they knew about it. For example, an employee suffering from migraines might be struggling to cope at work when the situation could be solved simply with a different lighting arrangement.

Employers are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled workers. If someone requests a reasonable accommodation and is denied, this could be a case of workplace discrimination. Those who are in this situation or believe they are facing discrimination because of disabilities in other ways, such as being denied a promotion, might want to report the behavior to human resources. Some workplaces have specific procedures in place for dealing with discrimination complaints. However, before reporting the discrimination to their workplaces, employees may first want to consult with an attorney about their rights. This could help prepare them in case their employers are unresponsive or do not understand their obligations concerning disabled workers. A lawyer also may be able to help with negotiations or filing a lawsuit if needed.

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