Friday, July 8, 2011

"Equal Employment Opportunity"

That phrase pisses me off so much it's not even funny. It's explained pretty well on costco's website with this report:

"Equal Employment Opportunity" is a lie. If you look at that report, it is only concerned with gender and race. These factors are important, sure, but they all leave one thing out of what is otherwise "equal". What about the number of people they hire who have disabilities? I've seen a few applications in the last couple of days that state that the company doesn't discriminate based on gender, race, religion, disability, or any factor protected by law. If you really don't discriminate based on disability, why is it so damn tough for those of us with disabilities to find work? If opportunity was truly equal, companies like costco would not only advertise the fact that they hire people with disabilities, but they'd be proud of it. I'm not asking to be hired on the sole basis of my disability, I have valuable skills, but I'm asking that my disability should not be the reason I lose a job opportunity. The law says that's not allowed, but all these companies have to do to cover their ass is find another reason not to hire someone like me. In my case it might be lack of experience or something else, but obviously they won't blatantly tell me that they don't want to hire someone with a disability. Doing that is essentially like saying "go ahead, sue us, we already wrote out the check." They won't tell me they refuse to hire me because of my disability, but it seems to be what they mean.

Where is the happy medium? Disability shouldn't be the reason to deny someone a job, but it shouldn't be the sole reason we get hired either. It's even uncomfortable to bring it to an employer's attention. We never know how they'll react, especially those of us whose disabilities aren't quite as visible. I know I've hidden my CP from people for a while before they asked me about it. What if that happens on the job? Would I get fired because I didn't disclose it right away?

More disability-related confusion, awesome...

Somebody give me a shot and make me realize Equal Employment Opportunity is truly equal, it doesn't seem so right now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reasonable accommodations

I've been looking for jobs lately and there's one thing on every application that gets me. Every job application will ask something like "can you perform the assigned tasks with or without reasonable accommodations?". My answer is always "I don't know yet", but they don't let you answer that way on the application. The first reason for that is that I'll never know if I need accommodations until I'm actually on the job. The second thing about this is that "with or without accommodations" thing. That leads me to believe they don't want to make any effort to accommodate me if I need help. It's also a very confusing way to ask a question. "With or without" makes me think that the answer is always "yes" but then what do they take that to mean? They would probably look at me and tell me that I said I could work without accommodations and possibly fire me when I ask for them. That's discrimination, and I know it.

Every time I bring it to somebody's attention that something I write on a job application opens me up to discrimination, I'll mention that if I can prove discrimination, I may never have to work a day in my life because I WILL be taking that company to court. I'll tell my mom to find the money for it because the case would be so solid that I have a real good chance to win. Sure, I'd rather be working for a living, but I don't know why everyone is essentially telling me to let these employers walk all over me. Everyone's answer to this seems to be "don't tell them you have a disability." Yeah, sounds like a plan...when they find out I have a disability, they can possibly fire me or choose not to hire me.

The job market is tough for anyone right now, but it's even more difficult for people with disabilities. What can I do?