If you’re a disabled person and you have a job, you may have come across a number of scenarios that have left you feeling a little baffled and little aggrieved.
Much like in everyday forms of life, disabled people often find themselves up against the elements and fighting just to be heard.
Finding employment is often hard enough when you’re a wheelchair user – due to unspoken discrimination and inaccessible job opportunities – so when you do finally land yourself that perfect job, it’s infuriating to think that sometimes the problems don’t stop there.
Here are five examples of things which all wheelchair users would hate within the workplace. Hopefully none of these things happen to you, and remember – these points are subjective, what might be annoying to you, may not be annoying to someone else. This article is designed just for a fun rundown of workplace mishaps and blunderous possibilities.
Employers assuming you’ll take a lot of sick leave
This is one point which can often prevent a disabled employee from even landing the job in the first place. For some reason, employers sometimes see a disabled individual and instantly assume that that person needs a lot of medical care, and will therefore likely be requesting time off work on a regular basis for hospital appointments and restbite care.
You should never assume.
It is so terribly incorrect to think that all disabled individuals have complex care needs, and if someone is carrying these assumptions towards a disabled work colleague, then this will most likely be highly aggravating for the disabled person.
Inappropriate desk height
If you’re a wheelchair user and you have an office job, or at least a job which requires you to work at a desk – there’s nothing more annoying than arriving at work and finding that your desk is at an inappropriate height and is uncomfortable for you in your wheelchair. This is something which can easily be avoided – there are many adjustable desks out there on the market, and it’s not just something which can be an issue for disabled people – it’s also an issue if you’re tall, or short – so it’s better to have these inclusive office fittings for all people, not just wheelchair users.
Cluttered walkways through the office
Much like how inappropriate desk height – there’s something seriously irritating about staff members that leave items lying around the floor which can obstruct a wheelchair user and is an obvious fire hazard. Pathways should be clear around the workplace to ensure free flowing movement for all disabled and non-disabled members of staff alike.
Staff members crouching down to talk to you
It’s widely acknowledged that crouching down to speak to someone who is a wheelchair user is not the appropriate way of going about things. So you can imagine how much of an annoyance it is within a professional setting, when members of staff think it’s appropriate to bend down on their haunches and chat with you on eye level. It’s patronising and shoulding happen in a workplace.
People thinking you can’t handle big work loads
It’s amazing what some people can assume when they see someone with a disability. Not wanting to burden a disabled person with a hefty workload may be something which crosses the minds of many around the working environment, but it shouldn’t, and it again acts as a form of patronising behaviour. Treat all members of staff equally, and if a wheelchair user/disabled person needs to complete a big task at work – let them!
If you’ve had any negative experiences as a wheelchair user within the workplace, find us on social media and tell us all about it – and if you’d like more articles like this, such as: Disability & Employment: Staying in Work, and what to do if Circumstances change – then feel free to check out the Passionate People blog site from Invacare, now!