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DOL bids to increase opportunities for disabled workers

Having a disability does not give a person any less right to work than anyone else. Unfortunately, some disabled individuals struggle to find jobs, not because they are not suited to the positions, but because some companies are hesitant to hire people with a disability. In California, a disabled employee benefits from the Fair Employment and Housing Act as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Nevertheless, discrimination has not been eliminated.

Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, although unemployment for people without disabilities has dropped by almost 1 percent in the past year, the opposite is true for the disabled portion of the population. For the same time span, unemployment figures for people with disabilities increased by 1.5 percent.

Nevertheless, new legislation seeks to combat this trend. These regulations are designed to create opportunities for veterans and others with disabilities that might hinder finding work. Companies will be encouraged to ensure that employees with disabilities constitute 7 percent of their workforce. They will not be penalized for failing to meet the target, but action may be taken if they are not seen to be working to improve.

Another part of the drive to create jobs for disabled individuals is to encourage people to self-identify by letting their employers know voluntarily that they have a disability. Some workers may feel unwilling to do this, so the option not to disclose the information remains. However, if employers are made aware of their employee’s condition, they may be able to cater to their working requirements more efficiently.

For workers in California, this push to support disabled workers could provide countless opportunities. If you feel you have been dismissed or discriminated against because of a disability, you should not stay quiet. An attorney may be able to help you confront the responsible party and build a case against them.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "New rules giving people with disabilities more opportunities," Madasyn Czebiniak, May 4, 2014

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