Creating a Respectful and Inclusive Workplace

Vancouver-based author, speaker and HR consultant Erica Pinsky’s article “Creating a Respectful Workplace for Persons with Disabilities” discusses some ways in which employers can make a workplace welcoming to employees with disabilities.

“The first critical step,” says Ms. Pinsky, “is for an employer is to have a frank discussion to find out whether that individual has any particular requests or needs. Most people with disabilities will have dealt with these issues and so will have their own ideas and be comfortable discussing them.”

How can an employer then prepare a workplace to welcome a new employee that has a disability?  Ms. Pinsky interviewed the Associate Vice President of Equity at the University of British Columbia, Tom Hatch. Mr Hatch uses a wheelchair himself.

“Allow the employee to outline what would feel welcoming for them. The key is to have the dialogue ahead of time.” Although, he says, “personally, I would not want any advance conversation about my disability.” 

“The key is to avoid making assumptions about what might be best for the employee,” Mr. Hatch explained. “A common misconception is that people with disabilities are sensitive about their disabilities. In fact, however, for us it is simply part of who we are."

For some practical ways of making a workplace welcoming to people with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor offers some helpful tips.

Read the entire blog article here.