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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. Uh oh, someone is really going to get their panti ... uh, um ... I mean get upset now: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/31/arkansas-passes-indiana-style-religious-freedom-bill

  2. Bryan, stop insulting the Swedes by comparing them to the American oligarchs. Otherwise your point is well taken.

  3. Sociologist of religion Peter Berger once said that the US is a “nation of Indians ruled by Swedes.” He meant an irreligious elite ruling a religious people, as that Sweden is the world’s least religious country and India the most religious. The idea is that American social elites tend to be much less religious than just about everyone else in the country. If this is true, it helps explain the controversy raking Indiana over Hollywood, San Fran, NYC, academia and downtown Indy hot coals. Nevermind logic, nevermind it is just the 1993 fed bill did, forget the Founders, abandon of historic dedication to religious liberty. The Swedes rule. You cannot argue with elitists. They have the power, they will use the power, sit down and shut up or feel the power. I know firsthand, having been dealt blows from the elite's high and mighty hands often as a mere religious plebe.

  4. I need helping gaining custody of my 5 and 1 year old from my alcoholic girlfriend. This should be an easy case for any lawyer to win... I've just never had the courage to take her that far. She has a record of public intox and other things. She has no job and no where to live othe than with me. But after 5 years of trying to help her with her bad habit, she has put our kids in danger by driving after drinking with them... She got detained yesterday and the police chief released my kids to me from the police station. I live paycheck to paycheck and Im under alot of stress dealing with this situation. Can anyone please help?

  5. The more a state tries to force people to associate, who don't like each other and simply want to lead separate lives, the more that state invalidates itself....... This conflict has shown clearly that the advocates of "tolerance" are themselves intolerant, the advocates of "diversity" intend to inflict themselves on an unwilling majority by force if necessary, until that people complies and relents and allows itself to be made homogenous with the politically correct preferences of the diversity-lobbies. Let's clearly understand, this is force versus force and democracy has nothing to do with this. Democracy is a false god in the first place, even if it is a valid ideal for politics, but it is becoming ever more just an empty slogan that just suckers a bunch of cattle into paying their taxes and volunteering for stupid wars.

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