Here at JJsList.com, we champion the inclusion of people with disabilities as customers and as employees, and we believe in standing up for your rights when you have a disability. Luckily, Equip for Equality has set up a new Employment Rights Helpline. The goal of the Helpline is to help employees and potential hires who have disabilities with issues they may have, including such things as:
- Understanding the job application process
- Disclosing a disability to an employer or potential employer
- Confidentiality protections
- Requesting reasonable accommodations
“The Helpline is an important new tool to promote equal opportunity and combat discrimination,” says Barry Taylor, Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation for Equip for Equality. The Helpline will provide assistance for people who have had negative experiences in the workplace related to their disability, such as denial of jobs, termination, or demotions. The Helpline staff will also be able to provide legal advice and assistance with self-advocacy for all of these issues. “We think the Helpline will be a successful and useful tool for people with disabilities because it will be a way for them to talk one-on-one with an attorney experienced in disability employment law and get practical and useful advice on addressing any disability-related issues that arise in the workplace,” Taylor says.
The Helpline, like JJsList.com, will also help businesses connect with people with disabilities as employees. Employers can call requesting a better understanding of what is required of them through the ADA and other civil rights laws. Taylor states, “While Equip for Equality’s legal representation is limited to people with disabilities, we can certainly provide employers with information about legal rights and responsibilities. By providing legal rights information, we believe businesses will be better educated and supportive of not only their employees with disabilities, but also their customers with disabilities, as many of these issues overlap.”
Taylor and his co-workers hope the Helpline will also improve relationships between employers and people with disabilities as well. It will provide employers with information on legal rights and responsibilities, which will better educate businesses and allow them to be more supportive of both their employees and customers with disabilities. Says Taylor, “At Equip for Equality, we believe that people with disabilities can often resolve many legal advocacy issues that arise in the workplace if they know their legal rights and are provided with some self-advocacy assistance.”
By self-advocating, people with disabilities can help promote equality and build better relationships between themselves and the businesses and organizations for which they work.