Inclusion at Work

Accessibility Tick

Module Contents

This module covers things you can do to prevent discrimination against people with accessibility needs in the workplace.

  1. Non-discrimination
  2. Universal design
  3. Reasonable accommodations
  4. Stigma and stereotypes

After you have completed the training there is a 5 question quiz to test your knowledge.

Inclusive group of people

Inclusion

Although this module focuses on accessibility needs, many of the principles apply to other diversity groups, including race and gender.

Definitions

Accessibility Needs

A person with accessibility needs or access needs is someone with a disability, chronic health or mental health challenge who experiences barriers to full participation in employment or life.

Barriers

Barriers can be in the physical built environment, the digital/ online environment, barriers in the recruitment process, attitudinal barriers and cultural barriers to full inclusion.

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1. Non-discrimination

Championing Fair and Inclusive treatment by preventing discrimination against people with access needs

  • Calling out team members who treat those with access needs unfairly
  • Modelling fair, inclusive and considerate behaviour yourself toward team members with access needs
  • Highlighting company practices and processes which lead to exclusion and discrimination against people with access needs
  • Championing change in your organisation

2. Universal design

Making products, communications, and the physical environment usable by as many people as possible

The difference between equality, equitable, and accessible

This is how products, communications, and the physical environment are designed for fellow staff members or customers.

2. Universal design

When you see that the designs create accessibility barriers for team members or customers who have accessibility needs, or when you are part of a design team, you can:

  • Highlight the issue that should be addressed
  • Engage the people with access needs to propose solutions where possible
  • Propose ‘work-arounds’ where necessary to minimize barriers and assist people with access needs to function with products, communications or physical environments until barriers can be eliminated

3. Reasonable Accommodations

Modifying items, procedures, or systems to enable a person with access needs to use them to the maximum extent possible

The difference between equality, equitable, and accessible

Examples include technology, equipment, and flexible working conditions.

3. Reasonable Accommodations

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations. You can assist by:

  • Making the person with accessibility needs aware of accommodations that you know are available
  • Supporting the person with accessibility needs, to the extent they want support, in approaching the employer to provide reasonable accommodations
  • Becoming aware of your organisation’s reasonable accommodations or workplace adjustments policy or process. If none exist, encourage your employer to create one

4. Stigma and Stereotypes

Eliminating the belief that people with access needs are unhealthy or less capable of doing things

The difference between equality, equitable, and accessible

4. Stigma and Stereotypes

You can have a significant role in changing the belief that people with access needs are unhealthy or less capable of doing things. These false beliefs are rooted in ignorance.

A person sit-skiing Image source

4. Stigma and Stereotypes

Learn to engage comfortably with the people in your organisation who have access needs

  • Understand the accommodations they use so they do not become a distraction to you
  • People with accessibility needs just want to be treated like everyone else; like you would want to be treated
  • When you start seeing the person as a co-worker or friend, and not through the filter of a disability, you will automatically model behaviours which are more inclusive

4. Stigma and Stereotypes

Educate yourself by learning statistics for people with disabilities versus the general workforce and by researching the achievements of people with disabilities.

Employees with access needs averaged one-sixth the recorded occupational health and safety incidents of non-disabled employees.

Image source One in four New Zealanders is living with a disability. So this affects a lot of people.

4. Stigma and Stereotypes

Challenge people who dismiss the abilities of co-workers who have access needs.

The first three letters of disability are crossed out to make ability

If an employee with access needs' performance is genuinely sub-standard, that should still be addressed. However, presuming someone will perform poorly because they have an access need should be challenged.

Questions

For each of the following 5 questions, select the answer you think fits best.

Question 1

Preventing discrimination:

  1. Is primarily the company’s responsibility
  2. Requires me to look at my own behaviour and that of other team members.
  3. Is all about fixing the organisation’s practices and processes. If they are right, there won’t be any discrimination.
  4. Is just a matter of me acting when someone points out discrimination to me.

Question 1 - Answer

Preventing Discrimnation:

2. Requires me to look at my own behaviour and that of other team members.

Although the organization’s practices and processes should be addressed, and we can all help with that, we all have a duty to look at our own behaviour, and those of other team members, to ensure we are not discriminating against people with access needs. Because much discrimination comes from unconscious bias, we may not see it if we don’t look for it.

Question 2

Universal Design:

  1. Is about making reasonable accommodations for people with access needs.
  2. Is about ensuring architects take access needs into account when they are designing buildings.
  3. Is a somewhat costly process, but it is required by law, so organisations that fail to use universal design will not be able to sell their products or employ people with access needs.
  4. Is about making products, communications and the physical environment more useable for everyone.

Question 2 - Answer

Universal design:

4. Is about making products, communications and the physical environment more useable for everyone.

Universal design is not required by law, and it is not just for people with access needs. Universal design makes products, communications, and the physical environment usable for as many people as possible.

Question 3

Reasonable Accommodations:

  1. Are primarily the employer’s responsibility to provide.
  2. Can be easier for your workmates to access if you are aware of accommodations that may assist them.
  3. Include technologies, but may be other things as well.
  4. All of the above.

Question 3 - Answer

When a new employee with an access need starts work:

4. All of the above.

Customised job design does require effort by the company and the employee to find the right mix of work. The benefit for each is that the employee is likely to end up with a solid workload that they are able to do. The employee will appreciate the company making the accommodation in the role description.

Question 4

Policies which favour hiring people with access needs are:

  1. Unnecessary. Policies should be the same for everyone. We should neither favour any group nor discriminate against them.
  2. Risky. They create a whole series of liabilities that the company will have to deal with.
  3. Great marketing. They are our full commitment to diversity.
  4. Important. They balance the unconscious bias and cultural discrimination present in the organisation.

Question 4 - Answer

Policies which favour hiring people with access needs are:

4. Important. They balance the unconscious bias and cultural discrimination present in the organisation.

If we are to address our failure to employ people with access needs we have to recognize that problems lie in our unconscious biases and our discriminatory culture. Favouring people with access needs is a necessary counterbalance to these issues. Changing policies to redress the balance is an important step, and it can be ‘great marketing’. But changing the policies is just a first step. Good policies will create obligations for employing managers to behave appropriately, but will actually reduce liability as the company will have demonstrated its intent to be inclusive.

Question 5

Confidentiality and privacy obligations toward people with access needs are:

  1. Much greater than for other staff. Their access need may make them more sensitive to privacy issues; so we need to more carefully protect their rights.
  2. Important; but must be balanced against the company’s right to ensure they don’t hire someone with access needs if they don’t wish to do so.
  3. The same as for all employees. Access needs are just a specific example of a privacy/confidentiality issue that should be respected.
  4. A special case. You need to treat each individual applicant on their merits and offer them the confidentiality justified by their access need.

Question 5 - Answer

Confidentiality and privacy obligations toward people with access needs are:

3. The same as for all employees. Access needs are just a specific example of a privacy/confidentiality issue that should be respected.

Confidentiality and privacy issues for people with access needs should be treated with exactly the same respect as the needs of other staff. Just as for other staff, you have the right to enquire about any issue which you have reason to believe may affect their ability to perform the role. You do not have the right to refuse a candidate who is the most able to do the job just because they have an access need.

If you have any questions or need additional support, please get in touch!

Email: info@accessibilitytick.nz

Phone: 09 242 0511

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibilitytick

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/a11ytick