Disabilities and chronic illness in the workplace

If you watch comedies about minoritized people, people with disabilities and illnesses, etc. you might imagine that these people get away with everything in the workplace because their colleagues and bosses feel so guilty and are so afraid of litigation, ha ha.

Not true. We need ADA particularly because people with disabilities and chronic illness are vulnerable to workplace discrimination. They are not often accommodated despite serious and debilitating conditions, and they are shamed as well as low- and high-key threatened with generally legal financial and career-ending consequences.

Much of what happens to these individuals happens under cover of secrecy because they are afraid and ashamed of how they are treated, and that they are – in this land of rugged individualism – unable to “get over it” and “not ask for special treatment.”

If you work with someone like this, or know someone like this, be an ally for that person. I have met many well-intentioned people in the course of my career who ally themselves by word and deed with the status quo against the disabled and sick. And they still believe they are doing the right thing. It is sad to watch.

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