Disability Awareness Week: Disability in the Workplace

Disability Awareness Week: Disability in the Workplace

Schedule of Events

61 Million Americans have a disability

That’s 26% of the United States population, or 1 in 4 Americans.

Americans in the workplace

35% of working-age Americans with disabilities are employed

compared to…

75% of working-age Americans without disabilities are employed

Autism in the Workplace: 5 Things Employers Should Consider

Why are Americans with disabilities underrepresented in the workplace?

  • Lack of access
  • Exploitation
  • Discrimination
  • Exclusion and alienation
  • Lack of accommodation
  • Lack of representation, role models, and mentors
  • Burn-out

What does Accommodation in the Workplace Look Like?

Chronic Pain

  • Employer providing a supportive desk chair.
  • Flexibility in working from home.


  • Utilizing alternative forms of communication.
  • Employer providing a standing desk.

Physical Disabilities & use of Mobility Devices

  • Providing a larger office or moving furniture to account for mobility device navigation.
  • Installing a ramp or a modified restroom.

Legal Definition of Disability

The federal government considers someone disabled when the person:​

  1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more “major life activities,” ​
  2. has a record of such an impairment, or ​
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.​

Know Your Rights

What is the ADA?

  • A civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
  • Ensures people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as do those without disabilities.
  • Has five titles. The first title outlines equal employment opportunity for individuals with disabilities.

What is Title 1 of the ADA?

  • Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, even during the application process.
    • A reasonable accommodation is any modification/adjustment to a job or work environment that enables the employee to perform essential job functions.
  • People with disabilities cannot be denied employment, harassed, fired, paid less, or treated poorly due to their disability(s).
    • If an employee is discriminated against, they should file a charge with their state’s fair employment practices agency. It is also illegal for employers to discriminate against people with disabilities who file a charge.
  • Any employee who meets the legal definition of a person with disabilities is supported by this title in the workplace.
What are rights? | Learn all about your rights | Kids Helpline

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to tell my employer that I have a disability?

  • Legally, you do not have to disclose your disability at any time. In order to receive proper accommodations, however, you may need to disclose your disability. It is your choice when to disclose.

My disability is episodic. Am I still covered by these laws?

  • Episodic and sporadic disabilities are still considered disabilities and are covered by the ADA.

What should I do if I feel like I need a workplace accommodation?

  • Speak with your supervisor and decide on a reasonable accommodation that will ensure you are able to complete the essential functions of your job responsibilities.

Do employers have to give preference to applicants with disabilities?

  • No. Employers may select the applicant they believe is most qualified for the position. Employers cannot, however, choose not to select an applicant due to the presence of a disability.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information For Persons With Disabilities Or Access And  Functional Needs - Freedom Center For Independent Living