The following is a guest blog by Jessica Chapmen. Her contact information is below.
It's very important for employers to try and be inclusive in their approach when hiring employees and putting teams together, and ethical businesses in the modern era are encouraged to bring in workers from all walks of life, including those with disabilities. Disabled workers are able to excel in many roles, but physical limitations can impair their abilities in certain roles and duties, presenting certain ethical dilemmas for colleagues and managers to negotiate.
Indeed, due to the different disabilities that may be present in the workforce, managers, supervisors, and human resources professionals can sometimes find themselves faced with difficult situations when it comes to hiring disabled workers and engaging with them on a day-to-day basis. A range of unique situations may arise involved workers with disabilities, and this guide will look at some such ethical issues and how they may be navigated for the benefit of all involved.
One of the big ethical dilemmas that may arise when dealing with workers with disabilities is performance problems. Even though disabled workers have been proven to perform incredibly well in countless roles and positions, they are prone to job performance problems just like anyone else. In some cases, their disabilities may impair their ability to carry out certain tasks or duties.
However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that disabled workers should be held to the same standards as all other employees. So, if a disabled worker fails to meet performance standards, they should theoretically be subject to the same criticisms as anyone else. This doesn't pose any real ethical issue as long as the performance problems are not directly linked to the individual's disability.
However, if the performance issues are linked to the worker's disability, an ethical gray area can emerge, as it seems unjust for a worker to be punished for failing to do something when they have a disability that makes it hard or even impossible for them to do so. This is why it's up to employers and supervisors to make sure that disabled workers are given appropriate tasks for their abilities.
There may also be a question of conduct issues with workers with disabilities. Certain disabilities may directly influence the conduct and behavior of an individual. A person with Tourette's syndrome, for instance, may uncontrollably shout obscenities from time to time, or an individual with autism may respond with anxiety and fear in certain situations.
Again, we're reminded of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which states that disabled workers should be treated equally. However, in cases where conduct problems are directly linked to disabilities, accommodations must be made. It's clear that in the aforementioned examples, these workers should not be punished for behaving in ways that are beyond their control.
At the same time, if a worker with a disability causes a conduct issue that is not related to their disability, appropriate responses may be made without any real cause for ethical debate. For example, if a worker with visual impairments acts aggressively towards a customer, the worker in question clearly breached the code of conduct in a way that was not connected to their own physical limitations.
One of the key issues to consider when it comes to hiring and working with individuals who have disabilities is essentially trying to treat them like any other employee and not showing discrimination or unfair attitudes. For example, if a worker with a disability applies for an opening and is fully qualified, experienced, and able to carry out the necessary duties, their application shouldn't be subject to any kind of extra criticism or special judgment just because of their disability.
In fact, if a worker with a disability is discriminated against in this way, the employer in question could be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which exists to prevent such situations from occurring in the first place. Instead, workers with disabilities or applicants with disabilities should be judged on their merits, their experience levels, and their qualifications, just like any other candidate.
From an ethical and logistical perspective, disabilities should only come into account when they may impact the worker's performance or ability to carry out their duties. For example, a person with mobility issues may not necessarily be able to take on a role as a truck driver, or someone with hearing problems might need special assistance in order to work in a classroom environment. In many cases, adjustments can be made to accommodate these people and they can perform just as well as anyone else in the roles they apply for.
Author Bio: Jessica Chapman is a writing editor and lab report writer from Chicago. She writes on a wide range of topics and offers her talents as part of a research paper writing service. She is into sport and politics, and she also enjoys traveling.
Posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, The Ethics Sage, on July 7, 2021. You can sign up for his newsletter and learn more about his activities at: https://www.stevenmintzethics.com/. Follow him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/StevenMintzEthics and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ethicssage.