Disabilities in the Workplace
The unemployment rate in the United States might still feel like a major concern to many Americans, but perhaps especially so for those with disabilities. People who have disabilities are employed at a significantly lower rate- 12.5%, in fact, compared to the 5.9% unemployment rate of those with no disabilities.
This much lower rate of employment is likely due to a combination of factors, but one thing is certain: many employers are hesitant to hire people with disabilities. In the eyes of the average business owner or CEO, employees with disabilities can mean additional costs due to laws that protect those with disabilities in the workplace. But what exactly do these laws dictate, and how do they affect business owners?
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (also known as ADA, or the Rehabilitation Act) prohibits employers from treating people with disabilities differently, or less favorably, from other staff members. It also requires employers to provide adequate accommodation to any employees who have disabilities. These accommodations can include anything from work environments to equipment, but can also encompass removing policies that create barriers for these individuals.
The ADA does exclude certain businesses from its legislation, but only if they meet certain criteria, like if accommodating a person with a disability would place an excessive difficulty or expense on the employer.
Additionally, the ADA prohibits discrimination when it comes to hiring decisions. Potential candidates who have disabilities must be given equal opportunity to able-bodied candidates.
What Disabilities in the Workplace Actually Means
It’s likely that because of the ADA, business owners worry about hiring employees with disabilities because of potential costs. And just because a law is in place to prevent discrimination doesn’t mean that employers aren’t still hesitant about people with disabilities in the workplace. However, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, hiring those with disabilities is actually good for a business’ bottom line. In fact, employers who hired and met the needs of employees who had disabilities reported benefits such as retaining valuable employees, improving the company’s productivity and overall morale, and even reducing both workers’ compensation and training costs. As Judy Owen, co-founder and COO of Opportunity Works, Inc., explains: “The report also found that other accommodations had an average cost of $500. How much is that cost compared to the cost of employee turnover? It is clearly much less expensive to provide the accommodation than to have an employee leave.”
What Business Owners Can Do
As a manager, business owner, or member of an organization’s executive team, it’s your job to ensure that the workplace you lead is an environment in which ALL of your employees can work together- with ALL of their differences. Making accommodations for employees with disabilities not only sets a high standard for your organization, but it also has the potential to bring about rewarding and positive change in the workplace.
If you’re considering other ways to further incorporate dignity and respect in your work environments, be sure to contact our Campaign Manager for more information. We can provide various solutions- between training kits, workshops, and speaking engagements- to help bring together the individuals who make up your workplace, and build both trust and community.
No matter who is part of your team, differences are only barriers if we allow them to be. Learn more today!
D&R Solutions: Training
For many of us, treating others with dignity and respect might sound like common sense, but how effective are we at actually putting it into practice? If someone were to ask if you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, you would likely respond with a definitive answer – of course you do!
But if someone were to ask you if you treat others with dignity and respect, how would you respond? Would you be hesitant to answer with an unwavering ‘yes’? Would you say yes, for the most part – or yes, but it depends?
Although we tend to have conviction about wanting to be treated with dignity and respect, we are often inconsistent in treating others with such. This is where the Dignity & Respect Campaign comes in. As one of our initiatives, D&R, Inc. offers Solutions in the form of both Educational and Training programs, Collateral, and even Speaking Engagements for events.
What is D&R Training?
Our specialized Training programs are based on the 7 Pillars of Dignity & Respect. They are broken down into modules for each pillar of behavior, and each module builds on the previous module(s). We present these materials in two formats: online segments that can be completed individually, as well as facilitated workshops for groups.
In addition to the 7 modules, the D&R Training programs are also divided into sections for Individuals, Teams, and Organizations. By using this method, we can help instill these fundamental behaviors into individuals, who will bring them into their teams. It is the attitudes and actions of both individuals and teams that create an organization’s culture.
What Can You Gain from Training?
D&R Training makes a difference in the dynamics of both teams and organizations by improving how they work effectively with one another. Additionally, these modules help to build and increase cultural awareness, as well as the ability to find common ground amongst various groups of people. When dignity and respect are talked about and worked on through team efforts, it helps to create a sense of inclusion.
So while it’s a nice idea to state that one stands for dignity and respect, it is another thing entirely to commit to achieving these notions – and incorporating them into lifestyles and cultures. Let us help you achieve this. Contact us today for more information on how to get started.
ViewPoints: A New D&R Initiative
The recent successes of identity driven political campaigns, and their strategic use of divisive rhetoric has exacerbated an already overly hostile debate space in the United States. Identity politics differ from ideological versions in the ways citizens group themselves. Identity based political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific group at the expense of another. Examples of this could be the organization of the conservative bloc around pro-life legislation or liberals with same sex marriage. Emotions around these types of topics run deep and when they become primary political drivers our ability to have civil discourse suffers.
Why Has This Happened?
In 1968, nearly 80% of Americans* watched nightly broadcast news. At that point in time, these networks were sharing information that aimed to appear as unbiased as possible* so as not to alienate any viewers. Over time though, cable news networks that cater only to smaller slices of the opinion spectrum began to crop up, which created a phenomenon of intensified media bias. Partisan Internet news outlets have only added to this increase and have corralled citizens into separate corners of conversation.
As a result, we tend to witness groups of thinkers who typically only engage in debates with one another, and who view outside opinions as wrong or antagonistic. This is particularly true within the political system itself, a space in which the common practice of gerrymandering determines how the congressional districts are mapped out. In fact, 90% of these districts are so rigged that the winning political party has already been decided before votes are even cast. These once-vibrant settings for debate and discussion are now just cocoons that insulate the different parties from one another.
How Does D&R Plan to Change This?
It is because of this current state of debate that the Dignity & Respect Campaign has developed an alternative type of conversation space. We call this unique initiative Viewpoints – and it will differ from the current debate panels and news shows because our approach incorporates real people into the discussion, rather than figureheads. We want to showcase the similarities between our participants, in addition to their differences, so you – our readers – can see firsthand that everyone has precisely the same goal: to make a difference. Instead of viewing those with opposing opinions as enemies to be beaten or converted, we should view them as potential collaborators.
We will begin our Viewpoints series with a month-long conversation about the state of conversation. We will discuss how we can start to appreciate the diversity of thought in our nation, and hopefully discuss ways to increase respect for one another in our interactions. Once dignity and respect are incorporated into debate, we will have the ability to find merit in the opinions of others. We can begin building solutions to the many complex issues we face by combining ideas from all schools of thought.
The climate of discussion in America does not need to persist in its current partisan and harmful manner. Your neighbor is not your enemy if he or she does not agree with you, and we should not overlook the good intentions behind every opinion. Remember, we are all in this together.
*Taken from the film: Best of Enemies. Dir. Morgan Neville and Robert Gordan. Magnolia Pictures, 2015. DVD.
Universal Human Rights Month
For some cultures, December marks the season for holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and sometimes even Milad un Nabi are just a few of the celebrations that American citizens will commemorate this month – not to mention the closing of the calendar year.
But December is also observed for another, lesser known reason: it is the Universal Month for Human Rights.
So what does this mean exactly?
It’s important to first understand how the Universal Month for Human Rights started. It began in 1948, when the United Nations wrote up a document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This happened after the Second World War, because the U.N. wanted to prevent the atrocities that had occurred. They created the document as a way to properly define what human rights would be protected universally.
The very first article of this declaration makes it clear what the purpose is. It states:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
The rest of the document lists out what these rights are. It emphasizes how important it is to work towards protecting freedom for all in order to keep peace.
How can you observe the Universal Month for Human Rights?
There is a lot of turmoil in the world. Open up any newspaper or look on any Facebook or Twitter feed and see the many challenges our planet is constantly facing.
One of the most important things you can do throughout the course of this month – and even beyond – is to find common ground with the people around you. We must remember that all human beings were born into the same world we were and that, despite our differences, we must learn to function here together. Human Rights Month is about acknowledging that people of different races, religions, cultures, and beliefs are still just that: people. We must be careful of differentiating ourselves from others so much that we forget this.
Take the time to learn about another culture that is different from yours – perhaps a culture that makes you nervous or uneasy. Research their history or perhaps make a new friend that is a member of that culture. You’ll start to see quickly how similar all people really are. You’ll start to see just how important it is that everyone be treated with dignity and respect.
Do Your Part: Help Us Fight Violence
Violence is a constant presence in the news. Scroll through most Facebook and Twitter feeds, or open up any newspaper and you will see the sheer volume of violent acts that happen across both the country and the world.
Community violence, in particular, is most commonly featured on these news platforms and is defined as an intentional attempt to hurt one or more people. In fact, every day in the U.S. over 85 gun deaths occur – which is around 3 deaths per hour. Last year, over 16,000 homicides were committed, and a U.S. Department of Justice study found that over 60% of children in America have been exposed to violence.
But violence doesn’t only occur on the outside in a physical way. Violence can also affect people both emotionally and psychologically. For simple proof of this, compare the 16,000 homicides last year to the 38,000 suicides that also occurred. Violence comes in many forms and is difficult to understand.
According to the CDC’s Principles of Prevention (POP) curriculum, violence as a whole is a complicated issue and there are multiple influences at various levels. “There’s no single reason why some people behave violently while others do not.”
So what can be done about the issue?
The Dignity & Respect Campaign takes all of these statistics very seriously – and when it comes to violence and destruction, enough is enough. Violence places a huge burden on the health of our country and we want your help in working to fight it.
We believe the first step towards violence prevention is education, which is why we’ve started our “I Will Do My Part” initiative. We also want to promote resources like POP training so that you can better understand violence, as well as programs like STRYVE that address more specific kinds of violence.
But beyond these helpful materials, we encourage you to remember that violence is a large issue that can be tackled a little bit at a time. You might not be capable of foreseeing and preventing a mass shooting, but you can speak out and help to demolish violent bigotry towards other cultures. You can look for ways you can get involved locally and report back to D&R on how you helped.
Small acts matter just as much as the large ones do. How will you play your part to stop violence?
Ways to Communicate with Respect
Communication is an extremely important aspect of our everyday lives that is so easy to overlook. Whether you are in conversation with coworkers, with friends and acquaintances, or with your family members, practicing strong and honest communication is a key player in fostering good relationships.
Lately, it seems there are a slew of issues in the news that create divides between peers and loved ones. Politics and topical issues have a tendency of polarizing people who discuss them – and even sparking animosity and irritation.
At the Dignity & Respect Campaign, we know how important certain issues might be to you. We believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings, but we also believe in acceptance – which means respecting others’ opinions and feelings, even if they differ from yours. This concept corresponds directly with the Fourth pillar of our 7 Pillars: Finding Common Ground. This model for behavior focuses on the ability to work through differences and gain agreement, while maintaining dignity and respect. To help you better understand this concept, and maybe even work through some ways to foster it, we’ve created a list of helpful tips for you:
Practice active listening. When you are in conversation with someone, regardless of whether the topic is a heated one or not, it’s a good habit to practice active listening. This means to be intentional about listening and make sure you are giving your full attention to the speaker. Also be sure to listen without interruption, and provide feedback to the speaker. Let him/her know what you heard so you can clear up any misunderstandings right away before you contribute to the conversation.
Be self aware. Understand how your culture and background shape you. Understand the differences between you and the person you are communicating with. For the most part, misunderstandings between people of different cultures, generations, or backgrounds occur not because of what was said, but because of how one party said it. The best way to stop these mishaps from happening is to not assume sameness, and not assume that the other party immediately understands what you mean. Take the time to get on the same page.
Disagree. Conversations are not a game that you play. The point in a discussion is not to win – there is no right or wrong when it comes to opinions. It is very important to remember this, and especially important to remember that it is not your job to make someone agree with you. This is a key component in respect. It is okay to disagree. The purpose of conversing is to learn from someone else – not to sway them to believe what you believe. Hopefully, they can also learn from you.
These helpful tips can go a long way in creating healthy and respectful conversations. The more we effectively communicate with one another – even on sensitive issues – the more we can acknowledge our differences and promote acceptance of those differences.