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Fehribach: What Labor Day means for people with disabilities

September 28, 2011
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Indiana Lawyer Commentary

By Greg Fehribach
 

fehribach-greg-mug.jpg Fehribach

Earlier this month, the National Organization on Disability recognized nine U.S. companies for their work in hiring and engaging people with disabilities. You can read more about why the NOD selected these companies as the “Fine Nine” at www.nod.org/news.

Two things really stood out about the NOD’s announcement of the Fine Nine, which was wisely timed to coincide with Labor Day, a holiday dedicated to the American worker. First, the NOD cited some alarming statistics from a 2010 Harris survey that they sponsored with the Kessler Foundation. The survey found that employment remains the biggest gap between people with and without disabilities. Among working-age people with disabilities, only 21 percent reported that they are employed full or part time, compared to 59 percent of people without disabilities. That’s a gap of 38 points.

The second was the headline in the article the United Press International published about the study. “Disabled workers always in recession,” accurately sums up the situation that people with disabilities – many of whom are educated and eager to work – face throughout their lives. Unfortunately, when people with disabilities are denied access to employment opportunities, they are forced to rely on government assistance. In today’s economic climate of austerity and frugality, particularly on the state and local levels, people with disabilities may lose these critical safety nets they have come to rely on.

So, where do we go from here? We must continue to encourage people with disabilities to get an education, and challenge them to use that education in non-traditional ways. We must continue to educate businesses about the potential for people with disabilities to help boost their bottom line. We must continue an open and candid dialogue, especially as baby boomers reach retirement age – every day.•

__________

An attorney with a disability who uses an electric wheelchair as a mobility aid device, Gregory S. Fehribach is a leading consultant on accessible design. This column was originally published on Fehribach’s blog, which can be found at www.thefehribachgroup.com. Opinions expressed in this column are the author’s.

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  1. File under the Sociology of Hoosier Discipline ... “We will be answering the complaint in due course and defending against the commission’s allegations,” said Indianapolis attorney Don Lundberg, who’s representing Hudson in her disciplinary case. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ... Lundberg ran the statist attorney disciplinary machinery in Indy for decades, and is now the "go to guy" for those who can afford him .... the ultimate insider for the well-to-do and/or connected who find themselves in the crosshairs. It would appear that this former prosecutor knows how the game is played in Circle City ... and is sacrificing accordingly. See more on that here ... http://www.theindianalawyer.com/supreme-court-reprimands-attorney-for-falsifying-hours-worked/PARAMS/article/43757 Legal sociologists could have a field day here ... I wonder why such things are never studied? Is a sacrifice to the well connected former regulators a de facto bribe? Such questions, if probed, could bring about a more just world, a more equal playing field, less Stalinist governance. All of the things that our preambles tell us to value could be advanced if only sunshine reached into such dark worlds. As a great jurist once wrote: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914). Ah, but I am certifiable, according to the Indiana authorities, according to the ISC it can be read, for believing such trite things and for advancing such unwanted thoughts. As a great albeit fictional and broken resistance leaders once wrote: "I am the dead." Winston Smith Let us all be dead to the idea of maintaining a patently unjust legal order.

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  3. Do you know who the sponsor of the last-minute amendment was?

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  5. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

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