Accessibility in the Workplace: Equality as an Endgame

We are in a time of transition when it comes to inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. Often, employers’ antiquated attitudes and misconceptions impact their hiring practices. A major shift in societal attitudes toward inclusion is beginning to filter into the workplace, but a lot of work remains to be done. 

Christopher Lytle is a human rights consultant and helps organizations incorporate requirements for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and he is a guest blogger on First Reference Talks. In his blog post, he writes about the need for change in the workplace and what we stand to lose if we don’t work toward this change. 

Lytle argues that, despite attitude shifts, misperceptions perpetuate the cycle of exclusion. “Whenever a resume from an otherwise qualified individual gets overlooked because of a preconceived notion about disability, work ethic or fear of liability, it is the limiting effect of presumptions that guide that decision.” 

He argues that we need to find ways to reframe disability in a way that promotes the inclusion of everyone. He states that it’s not enough to train employers on the importance of accessibility or about seriously considering resumes and applications from people with disabilities despite preconceived notions. 

He says we need to go much further, by promoting shifts in the conversation so that “when people talk about accessibility they are more likely to talk about its wholesale implantation rather than just focusing on ramps.” The focus must instead be on equality. Finally, he advises that the only way to create an accessible workforce is to build new models that focus on the identities of everyone, not just people with disabilities.

To read Lytle’s blog post in full, click here