Canvassing the attitudes of employers towards employing people with disability has been done quite regularly. Seeking the views of the consumers of companies that employ people with disability is also important. This article outlines a national survey carried out by the University of Massachusetts and reveals that companies employing people with disability are viewed positively.
Abstract. Employers’ negative attitudes and fears have long been a barrier to the employment of individuals with disabilities. Accordingly, attitude literature on the employment of people with disabilities has focused almost exclusively on employers. However, due to their influence over business practices, the successful employment of people with disabilities is also contingent on the views of the consumer. This study extends previous studies that focused on the attitudes of employers, and went directly to the consumer. Consumer attitudes toward companies that hire individuals with disabilities were assessed through a national public survey (N = 803). Most of the participants (75%) had direct experience with people with disabilities in a work environment. Moreover, these experiences were positive. All participants responded positively towards companies that are socially responsible, including 92% of consumers who felt more favorable toward those that hire individuals with disabilities. The participants also had strong positive beliefs about the value and benefits of hiring people with disabilities, with 87% specifically agreeing that they would prefer to give their business to companies that hire individuals with disabilities. Implications of consumer support on company hiring practices are discussed.
The title of the article is, “A national survey of consumer attitudes towards companies that hire people with disabilities“ by Gary N. Sipersteina, Neil Romanob, Amanda Mohlera and Robin Parkera, 2005. Published in Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 24 (2006) 3–9 3 IOS Press.
If you haven’t seen what an Easy Read document looks like then the report, Willing to Work Easy Read version by the Human Rights Commission, is an excellent example. It contains all the key information in short sentences that suit a wide audience, including people who do not have English as a first language. It is universally designed. So it begs the question, why aren’t all reports written this way? Unless you really need the fine detail, the Easy Read summary version gives most people all the key information quickly and easily.
The Willing to Work report was launched in May 2016. It was a response to the overwhelming number of discrimination complaints relating to employment for both older people and people with disability. It has some interesting facts and shows how poorly we compare to other developed countries around the world in terms of employment. You can download the full report in both PDF and Word from the Human Rights Commission website.
Cathy Basterfield has more to say about Easy English.
What is “reasonableness’ in the concept of reasonable accommodation” when it comes to applying accessibility and universal design? Professor Rafael de Asis Roig discusses this philosophical question in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. He contends that the content of universal accessibility is “constrained by three types of circumstances that could be considered as the bounds for what is necessary, possible and reasonable”.
For anyone interested in the debate about reasonableness, and the application of “unjustifiable hardship” rulings by the Australian Human Rights Commission, this article explores reasonableness from different perspectives and concludes,
“Therefore, in accordance with the foregoing, it is possible to have a comprehensive vision about reasonableness in the disability domain. This demand makes it necessary to deem a measure as reasonable in the context of disabilities when:
- It is justified because it adequately provides for full participation in society.
- It shall be deemed as possible, taking into account the state of scientific, technical and human diversity knowledge.
- It shall be deemed as a non-discriminatory differentiation or undifferentiation which is not harmful for physical and moral integrity and at the same time does not prevent from meeting basic needs nor avoids participation in society on an equal basis.
- It shall be deemed as proportional and, therefore, entails more advantages than sacrifices within the context of human rights.
- It shall be deemed as acceptable by the community to which it is addressed.”
The article, Reasonableness in the Concept of Reasonable Accommodation, was published in The Age of Human Rights Journal, 6 (June 2016)
An earlier unpublished article tackles the issues of human rights and “unjustifiable hardship” in the Australian context by Schraner, Bringolf and Sidoti which discusses the issues from an economic perspective. Written in 2012, it pre-dates the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The Victorian Government has an easy to read and understand version of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disability on their website. Similarly, the South Australian Government has posted the United Nations Enable Easy Read version on their website, complete with illustrations. The Victorian version is designed for service providers and picks out the key points in a table format. The Enable version is more accessible to people who have difficulty with literacy. These documents make for handy ready reference for everyone without having to work through the UN document itself.
DISABILITY & DEVELOPMENT: How to include persons with disabilities in development cooperation.
Although this manual is aimed at people working on aid programs in developing countries, there are many aspects that could be applied in the Australian context.
The first chapter covers the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the development process supported by the international cooperation. The second chapter relates the collection and analysis of inclusive development appropriate practices based on RIDS members’ experience. The manual ends with a series of recommendations aimed at promoting an effective inclusive development process. The case studies are from many different parts of the world. The manual was published in Italy and translated to English.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have also produced a handbook for Universal Design Principles for Australia’s Aid Program.
Both the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) promote universal design as the means by which to create greater inclusion.
Here is a link to a short paper by Louise Plouffe and Alexandre Kalache who have been campaigning across the world for age friendly cities and communities.
You can find out more about WHO Age Friendly Cities and Communities here.
In this entertaining video the late Stella Young talks about how we have been sold a lie about people with disability being ‘inspirational’ for just being themselves. She also argues that people with disability have been objectified in this process as being ‘special’ in some way and not counted as normal everyday people doing everyday jobs in an everyday world. On the topic of a positive attitude Stella says, “No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp.”
The social model in the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Agustina Palacios’ article in The age of Human Rights Journal takes a human rights and social model of disability perspective. She briefly outlines the preceding models of disability and contrasts these with the social model inherent in the Convention. She then enters a philosophical discussion referencing the Convention and its underlying principles and assumptions, leads on to universality, and then ‘reasonable accommodation’.
“Taking into consideration all of the foregoing, it could be asserted that accessibility is the ideal situation, universal design would be a previous general strategy to achieve that ideal situation, and reasonable accommodation would be a particular strategy to be put in place when the universal design preventive purposes do not ensure accessibility.”
The World Health Organization has a page on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
It sets out the obligations of signatories to the Convention. Australia is a signatory to this Convention. Each of the obligations are detailed in separate sections called Articles. There are 50 Articles. The General Principles of the Convention align with the Principles of Universal Design.
Article 3 – General principles
The principles of the present Convention shall be:
- Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
- Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
- Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
- Equality of opportunity;
- Equality between men and women;
- Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.