Jane applies for a role as an inventory manager at a fashion company. She is sure that she is fit and capable to take on this role. She passes all of the job interviews excellently.
However, during the last stage of the job interview with the owner of the company, Jane is told that her genotype will not be a good fit for the role, although, her laudable performance has been very impressive.
This type of discrimination that Jane faces is the same situation that most persons living with one form of disability or the other find themselves in, every now and then.
Table of Contents
- Meaning of Disability
- Disability Discrimination
- Causes of Disability Discrimination
- Effects of Disability Discrimination
- How to Prevent Disability Discrimination
Meaning of Disability
Disability is widely known as a physical (external), mental, or other internal health condition that limits an individual’s movements, senses, activities, or quality of performance.
Disability discrimination can be said to mean biased and detrimental conduct towards people with different categories of disabilities – whether internal or external. Disability discrimination can happen anytime and anywhere including schools, workplaces, and public spaces.
Causes of Disability Discrimination
The following are some of the major causes.
- When a person is ignorant of the laws that protect the individuals with disability, and the consequences for flouting or disregarding them, disability discrimination tends to take place
- The inability to understand the plight or imagine oneself in the situation of the individual living with a disability
- Vices – especially in workplaces and schools – like jealousy, spitefulness, and over-confidence (regarding the fact that individuals with disabilities can’t defend themselves) can lead to an increase in discriminatory cases against the individuals with disabilities
- Fear of not meeting expectations and having little or no faith in the disabled employee by the employer
Effects of Disability Discrimination
They include the following.
- Disability discrimination can lead to low self-esteem, loneliness, constant doubt (as regards one’s existence) for the individual who has a disability
- It can cause the individual to become a victim of bullying and oppression, and this can result in various forms of self-harm or psychological issues
- Most times, the individuals with disabilities who go through this form of discrimination tend to feel marginalized, and they can often be ridiculed constantly by the public
- Disability discrimination causes the inability to live a normal life/enjoy a proper quality of life
- In very extreme cases, disability discrimination can cause PTSD or suicidal thoughts, which might result in the death of the affected individual
How to Prevent Disability Discrimination
How to Prevent Disability Discrimination in Public Spaces
The disabled should be given preference and prioritized in public arenas, for example, on a queue to make payment for goods and services purchased. They should be given priority just like the elderly, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.
Also, the disabled should have separate public restrooms modified for individuals with a disability. This way, there’s no need to wait to use public toilets or face harsh treatments from other people.
When getting on public transport, individuals with a disability should be given priority to get on the bus first. They should also have modified seats on buses reserved for them only so that they don’t have to stand or wait for someone else to alight before getting the opportunity to take a seat.
Note that these preventive measures in public spaces are mostly only effective on external disabilities as there is no way to really know if someone is disabled internally (for example, some psychological illnesses cannot be deciphered physically or early stages of some terminal illnesses).
However, it’s not the same with schools and workplaces because they are very likely to have the medical records of individuals with disabilities, which are usually collected upon registration into the school and gainful employment into an organization.
How to Prevent Disability Discrimination in Schools
Schools need to set up rules and regulations that will help protect the rights of students with disabilities and other students have to adhere.
These rights may include rights to speak up and participate in extracurricular activities (that they are capable of) like sports, swimming, drama, debate, dancing, writing, and so on.
Any student who does not respect or cannot tolerate a student who has a disability should be penalized. This will help to reduce forms of bullying that the disabled might be subjected to; they are mostly targets because they are deemed incapable of defending themselves.
Schools should also have modified facilities like ramps for wheelchairs, modified toilets, and school buses for students with disabilities. This will greatly afford the disabled the deserved respect and independence, without having to constantly seek help from other students.
Apart from special schools that are set up for students with special needs and complex disabilities like autism, some schools should try to hire staff dedicated to taking care of students with lesser forms of these complex disabilities like dyslexia.
Taking this step will enable the disabled students to be identified early so that they would not have to suffer discrimination and become objects of ridicule by impatient teachers and other students.
How to Prevent Disability Discrimination in Workplaces
Discrimination in workplaces can occur in different forms and manners including through the hiring process, employee benefits, promotions, salary, firing/laying off laborers with disabilities.
It can also be in the form of repeated harassment and hostility towards an individual either with words or through actions.
Workplace disability discrimination is perhaps the most disturbing and unjust of all because the individual being discriminated against is only trying to make a living to survive and not depend on anyone, even with the disability.
Employers should be wary that if a candidate is not fit, then it should be due to the high expectation that comes with the role, causing the misfit, and not because of one form of disability or the other. Disability discrimination in an organization can, therefore, be prevented in the following ways.
- Adherence to the laws of the state that protect individuals with disabilities – the provisions of these laws should be accessible to all members of the organization and any disabled individual applying to work for the company/organization
- Being aware that not all external/internal disabilities hinder an individual from performing tasks assigned at work efficiently. This knowledge would really help to prevent discrimination
- Staying alert. The management of the organization shouldn’t be unaware of what is going on so that if such an incident occurs, prompt measures will be taken against such acts
- Providing measured breaks in between tasks for the individuals with disability so that the workload doesn’t cause a breakdown or inefficiency
- Not allowing the fears of inadequacies come before the individual’s effort is tried just because of the disability. The organization should remember that most people aren’t born with disabilities, and anyone at any given time can become a victim of temporary or permanent disabilities