Do people with disabilities deserve the same salaries as people without disabilities? This has been an ongoing debate around the world. In the US, people who employ individuals with certain disabilities can even qualify to pay their workers less than the minimum wage.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 26,379 claims of job bias citing disability issues in fiscal year 2012. Over 5,900 of them were considered to be of merit.
There are hundreds of millions of people around the world that have some form of a disability that affects their employment. 1 in 10 people, in fact, have a disability. This is a large segment of the population that cannot be ignored. Why? Because as Baby Boomers age, the percentage of people with disabilities is likely to increase.
- In countries with life expectancies over 70 years of age, people spend on average about 8 years, or 11.5 % of their lives,living with at least one disability.
- The poverty rate for people with disabilities: 47%.
- 90% of children who have a disability to not attend school.
- People with disabilities are 1.7x more likely to be the victim of a violent crime.
- Claims for disability benefits have climbed by more than 600% in some countries because of a lack of job opportunities.
- 1 in 3 employers say that they do not hire people with disabilities because the cannot perform required job tasks.
- Only 35% of people with at least one disability and are of working age actually have a job. 78% of non-disabled individuals, in comparison, do have a job.
Even when employers believe that someone with a disability can get the job tasks completely appropriately, they still don’t hire an individual because they fear accommodation costs. It always boils down to dollars and cents when it comes to disability discrimination. They are seen as easy targets who won’t complain. So bad is the discrimination against people with a disability that in the UK, 6% of women with a disability have been forcibly sterilized. Unemployment rates in the disability community are consistently around 80% in some countries. How can people change their circumstances or chase their dreams if they’re never given a chance?
What Could Be Changed to Stop Discrimination?
- Only 45 countries in the world today have anti-discrimination laws that help to protect individuals who have a disability.
- About 1 in 4 people with a disability will face at least one incident of discrimination every day.
- 40% of people with a disability in the UK have problems accessing basic goods and services that are needed on a regular basis.
- In the United States, 19% of the population is listed as having a disability. About 10% of people qualify as having a severe disability.
- Not every form of disability discrimination is covered by laws that are designed to create more equality.
We often think of someone with a disability as a second-class citizen because they cannot “contribute” in the same way as a non-disabled person. What many do not realize is that only 17% of the people who have a current disability were actually born with one. Only 8% of people who have a disability actually have a visual impairment. When incomes are lower, people are more likely to have a disability. This means the statistics support giving people with disabilities more opportunities instead of less.
Why Do We Allow Disability Discrimination to Continue?
- 38%. That’s the percentage of people who believe that someone with a disability is a burden on society.
- The percentage of people who resent the perception of extra attention that someone with a disability receives: 28%.
- Two-thirds of people actively avoid people with disabilities because they are uncomfortable with the person and don’t know how to act around them.
- Just 7% of people believe that a mental illness can qualify as a disability.
- Only 26% of people would say that facial disfigurement is a disability.
- 2 out of 3 people do not consider being deaf as a disability.
- In the UK, it is estimated that over 100 hate crimes are committed daily against individuals with disabilities.
We shouldn’t be scared of a disability. We shouldn’t use a disability as justification to pay someone less or not offer them a job. Many people want to be productive, yet aren’t given a fair opportunity to do so. It’s time for disability discrimination to stop. We cannot progress as a global society until it does.