By Harleen Gupta
#BLM (Black Lives Matter) and #MeToo movements have propelled the fight for corporate diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) into the limelight. Despite the push for DEI, inclusion for disability diversity lags other types of diversity such as race, gender, nationality, religion, and so on. Why not use these changing times of increased awareness to advance the support and care for our limb loss community and those who are differently abled?
#ALM — Amputee Lives Matter.
Candidates and employees with disabilities face barriers to entry and climbing up the corporate ladder. Consider the 9-point criteria below to find employers who are leading the DEI efforts in corporate America if you are new to the limb loss community, are looking to either switch jobs or begin anew, or want to decide if your current employer will be able to accommodate a permanent disability. If you can find a company doing all these things already, then that’s quite a unique unicorn. Most companies fall short in some areas, but the more criteria they satisfy, the more they would demonstrate a systemic commitment to inclusion, which is a good indicator that the company is serious and actively working to increase their DEI performance.
9-Point Criteria for Disability Inclusion in the Workplace
- Have a centralized accommodations office
- Have staff or a department dedicated to inclusion and diversity
- Offer flexible work arrangements
- Participate in the Disability Equality Index or is a member of Inclusion Works
- Share statistics on percentage of employees with a disability in their external ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting
- Visibly show support to people with disabilities via social media postings and other external communications; highlight community outreach efforts (donations, sponsorships, volunteer work) for the disability community
- Have an Employee Resource Group or Network
- Job listings include information on requesting accommodations during the hiring process, and any interview locations are accessible
- Post job listings on specialized job boards targeting the disability community (for example: https://askearn.org/page/job-seekers-resources)
As a corporate leader and a person living with amputation, I have seen more than my fair share of biases simply due to lack of exposure. To address this, consider these three important aspects when starting your new job: learn how to professionally introduce your disability; be ready to discuss accommodations; and prepare your reactions when people behave as people sometimes do.
Promoting workplace inclusiveness for our limb loss and limb difference community is central to Amputee Coalition’s mission. We are dedicated to helping amputees pursue career path employment opportunities for improving independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion. In October 2022, the Amputee Coalition initiated its series of articles and webinars on job-related topics and resources. To learn more about the Coalition’s Workforce Development Program, contact Trenaya Reid, Workforce Development Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.