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Helpful Resources: Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace

Posted Jan 30, 2018 08:04 AM
Not everyone with a disability uses a wheelchair, assistance dog, or portable oxygen device. Millions of Americans everywhere have disabilities that are not obvious – and therefore not always considered when crafting employee handbooks, arranging for workplace equipment, or setting time off policies.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, brain injuries, mental health issues, autism, vision and hearing impairments, and cognitive dysfunctions are a few common “invisible” disabilities that may not be obvious to a casual observer.

Familiarize yourself with the concept of invisible disabilities and ways you can build a more accommodating work culture:

  • First of all, what are “invisible disabilities?” The Invisible Disabilities Association summarizes what you need to know.
  • Many people with hidden disabilities do not feel comfortable revealing this to their employers out of fear of being stigmatized or passed over for promotions. This New York Times column paints a fuller picture of this predicament.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows employees to request “reasonable accommodations” at work. Find out what this means and how to go about implementing policies that make everyone feel included.
  • Compensation Connections has a bounty of resources of a variety of topics, ranging from disability employment law to recruiting new employees with disabilities.