Who Is A Qualified Individual With A Disability
Employers covered under Title I are prohibited from discriminating against a qualified individual in employment related decisions. The first requirement in the qualified analysis is whether the person meets the necessary qualification standards for the position desired or the job currently held. These are things such as specific education, training, job experience, skills or licenses, and in some cases the ability to work under pressure, as part of a team, and meet health or safety requirements. These required qualifications must be nondiscriminatory meaning that they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. If an individual cannot meet some or all of the requirements because of disability, it is the employers duty to show that they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. If the employer cannot demonstrate that the requirement is legitimate, the employer cannot use the requirement to take any adverse action against the applicant or employee. An individual with ASD must also meet the qualification standards that are job-related and consistent with business necessity.
If the individual meets the qualification standards, the next step in determining if the individual is qualified will depend on the ability of the person to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.
Eeoc V Jax Llc D/b/a Golden Corral
The EEOC sued Jax, LLC, which operates the Golden Corral Restaurant, on behalf of an employee with ASD who argued that he was subject to a hostile work environment based on his disability. Although the employee filed an internal complaint, the company did not investigate, the harassment did not stop, and the employee ultimately resigned. An investigation by the EEOC found that the employee, who had limitations in communication and interaction with others, was repeatedly called retard and stupid by the assistant manager of the restaurant. After failing to resolve the issue, the EEOC filed a federal court complaint. The employer settled and agreed to pay the employee $85,000 and implement training of all managers and employees.
Building An Inclusive Workplace
The true onus lies on companies to create an equal playing field by crafting policies inclusive to all employees. When our workplaces fail to recognize our experiences in all of their nuances they also fail us because they lack the understanding and the tools to create welcoming environments.
That said, to debunk the harmful stereotypes and change the exclusionary norms, much-needed conversations surrounding what autism is and is not should be led by autistic voices. The same holds true for other kinds of differences as well.
Autism is not an intellectual, learning, or mental health disability . It is a complex developmental condition that affects our social, sensory, and communication experience, and it may manifest differently in men and in women. Autism is a spectrum with many dimensions, and the specifics of navigating the world as an autistic individual are different for everyone.
Along with flexibility, belonging is key for neurodivergent employees. When organizations respect our identities and support people bringing their authentic selves to work, everyone has the opportunity to succeed. While this change ultimately has to be a systemic one, you are not powerless.
There are some things autistic professionals can do to own their identity and excel at work.
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Autistic Gifted And Black: An Interview With Mike Buckholtz
TPGA: Can you tell us a bit about your fabulous career in music and entertainment, and whether being autistic has been a factor?Mike BuckholtzTPGA: How did getting an official diagnosis, and understanding that you are an autistic person shift your self-awareness, if at all?MBTPGA: What are some specific positive experiences of being both Black and autistic that are lost to people who don’t share your experience?MBTPGA: How connected are you to the Black and POC autistic community, or to other autistic individuals, and are those connections a source of strength and comfort?MBTPGA: We already know the rate of anxiety disorders among autistic people in general is already much higher than the non-autistic population. Can you talk about why that anxiety may be even more intense for Black autistic people, and how for you it sometimes feels like “living under occupation“?MBTPGA: Can you be incredibly frank with our readers about why being both disabled and a person of color puts a body at higher risk of a dangerous police encounter than being only in one category or the other? I am thinking of specific, horrifying recent incidents like the shootings of Keith Lamont Scott, and Alfred Olango.MBMBpartTPGA: Do you have any specific messages of reassurance or advice for today’s younger Black and POC autistics?MB
Gathering Facts From You And Your Employer
In order to make a fair and objective decision we must:
Often, it is at the time you file your claim for benefits that you provide basic information as to the reason for being fired. Afterwards, an agent contacts your employer to obtain his own version of facts, then with you, if necessary, when details or more explanations are needed. It could happen, in some situations, that a version of facts may be gathered from anyone else well-known with the events or facts, particularly when there are discrepancies between versions already obtained from you and your employer.
The role of the employer is to provide the information concerning the reason for the firing, specifying, among other things:
The role of the person claiming benefits is to provide the information concerning the reason for being fired, specifying:
- whether or not he agrees with the version given by the employer as the reason of the dismissal
- what he has to say about the actions, omissions or faults attributed to him as the reason for the dismissal
- whether he was aware of the employer’s rules, policies, expectations or requirements on this matter
- under what circumstances the actions, omissions or faults attributed to him occurred
- if any witnesses or persons who could testify to the events or facts.
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Define What Career Success Looks Like To You
People work for different reasons, and these reasons can affect how we define our success. For some, work is a job that helps them pay the bills. For others, a job can be their calling or an opportunity to build a career.
Your career path depends on your goals and priorities. Take the time to understand what you value, why you value it, and how you see those impacting your long-term growth. Ask yourself what motivates and drains you to understand what it is that you really want it could be a flexible work-life, an intellectual challenge, money, or a career in industries that have been traditionally unwelcoming to us.
Some may find success in traditional employment and grow within the same company. Others may prefer channeling their intense focus via entrepreneurship, or appreciate the freedom of solopreneurship which allows you to be your own boss. I enjoy functioning as an intrapreneur within an organization, creatively developing new growth areas.
Know that its okay to take your time to figure out what path feels best to you. If youre still unsure, I like the advice Dorie Clark gives in her new book, The Long Game: Optimize for interesting. Think about what you find interesting instead of forcing yourself to optimize for money, passion, or success. Developing yourself in that area can open up opportunities that work with your mind and will help you create your unique niche and personal brand.
Must Be Good At Receiving Feedback No Ego
This is a requirement that tells us that the employer is likely harsh and demanding. Though not universal, a common trait of autism is to be quite self-aware and open to feedback. Its an instinct often honed to help us build our masks.
There are two other traits found in autism that make this requirement extra detrimental to our success: demand avoidance and rejection sensitivity. Both of these traits are trauma based and would need accommodation and support to navigate.
When we get into the no ego territory with job descriptions, it becomes clear that asking for accommodation would be a waste of time. This job is eliminated from consideration for us.
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What You Should Know
Did you know that if you are fired due to your own misconduct, you will not be paid regular benefits. After being fired from your job, you must work the minimum number of insurable hours required to get regular benefits.
Can Autism Have A Job
Kearon said most people with autism are capable of working. There are certainly people with challenges, but with the right supports, most people can work, he explained. And, he added, its important not to pigeonhole folks with autism and assume they would only be good in, say, technology-oriented jobs.
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Provide Reassurance In Stressful Situations
Autistic people can be quite meticulous, and can become anxious if their performance is not perfect. This means they may become stressed in a situation such as an IT failure. You can help by giving concrete solutions to these situations for example, by explaining “If the photocopier breaks, use the one on the third floor.” Similarly, reassure them that if they occasionally arrive late due to transport problems or other unpreventable factors, this is not a problem.Your employeemay benefit from having a mentor or buddy in the workplace an empathetic colleague who they can go to if they are feeling stressed, anxious or confused.
David And Jacquis Story
“David already worked in my team as a Customer Sales Assistant when I became his line manager in 2002. I had no previous experience of working with people with autism, so I did some reading around the subject and Davids NAS support worker popped in and introduced herself early on, which was really helpful.
“David is very good with customers and has excellent interpersonal skills. In the time I’ve worked with him we haven’t really had any particular challenges to overcome, mainly because Prospects has shown us how to prevent any difficulties from arising in the first place. But it’s good to know that they are always there to provide back up if we need it. I feel Im very fortunate to have someone like David in my team.
Managing him has taught me that everyone is different, with their own individual strengths. Everyone in the team values David as a member of our working family. Jacqui Copas, Customer Reception Supervisor at First Great Western Railways
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Employees With Disabilities Are Protected From Workplace Discrimination And Entitled To Reasonable Accommodation
If you lost your job because of your disability, you may have a claim against your employer for wrongful termination. Most employers may not discriminate against employees with disabilities and must provide them with reasonable accommodations at the workplace. This article explains your legal rights and what to do if you believe you were wrongfully terminated because of your disability.
Autism Employment Choices Should Be Self
Some autistic adults know exactly what kind of work they want. Others are flexible, and others have no idea. But just like everyone else, adults with autism have both the responsibility and the right to direct their own lives. Even if a person has limited verbal skills, it’s important to know that the work they are doing suits their interests, abilities, and sense of purpose.
To help determine an individual’s best career choices, school counselors and agency personnel can use tools such as vocational and aptitude tests. A student’s vision is then made part of the transition plan which, in turn, makes it easier to plan for training, internships, and vocational opportunities.
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Job Options Depend On Abilities And Challenges
One of the hardest realities to face as the parent of a child with autism or an autistic self-advocate is that abilities are not always enough to get and keep a good job. A young adult with autism may be a brilliant mathematician, but if they can’t generalize their skills to a needed function, such as accounting or statistics, there may be no job available. Other issues that can be serious obstacles to employment include:
- Social anxiety
- Difficulty with handling criticism
- Unwillingness to share or collaborate
Oddly enough, it can sometimes be easier to find a job placement for a nonverbal person with few sensory issues than for a talented techie who can’t handle an office environment.
Understanding strengths and challenges are important to the transition and job search process. If you know what issues are likely to be a problem, you can advocate for training, internships, and “job carving” to create the right job match.
The Environment Chews Us Up And Spits Us Out
A lot of times, people are allowed to discriminate against autistic adults for their sensory and functioning impairments without recourse. It comes in the form of:
Unfavorable performance reviews
Youre not a good fit for our culture
Helpful advice on how we can work on ourselves more as were being fired
Bullying and/or reduced hours/work until we quit
The implied notion that they wouldnt have hired us if theyd known we were autistic in the interview
On the surface, some of these might seem fair, but they become gaslighting when our disability is entirely ignored from consideration and our jobs are on the line.
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What We Hope You Take Away From This Article
The worst types of jobs autistic adults can have are ones that dont allow us authenticity or representation.
These are jobs where:
Worth is tied to productivity rather than personhood
The signs of our disability are what devalue our contributions to the team or the workplace
There is no structure of social support to help us navigate workplace relationships and disability accommodations
Neurotypical social performance is the only standard in consideration
The demands on our sensory processing and executive dysfunction dont account for the existence of those disabilities.
The best jobs for autistic people are willing to reimagine the workplace, allowing it to exist outside of a traditional capitalist space. The prospect of accommodating an autistic adults needs are only insurmountable if you rely on neurotypical ideals to structure your company. Many do, but those with more imagination find that its not really that hard to help an autistic adult thrive.
About the writer
School Services End At Age 22
The moment a person with a disability turns 22, they’re no longer covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act . School is an entitlement, meaning schools are required to provide a free and appropriate education. Adult services, however, are not entitlements. You may or may not qualify for services and, even if you are qualified, the service providers may or may not be funded.
In practice, however, anyone with a significant disability will qualify for and receive at least some adult services. To make this happen, though, you’ll need to know how the transition works in your community, what options are available in your state, and how to qualify for the services you may need.
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How To Deal With Autism Discrimination
The law prevents employers, schools, colleges, or individuals from discriminating against someone because they have autism. Autistic people must have equal employment opportunities, government services, transportation, public accommodations, and commercial facilities.
If an autistic person experiences discrimination, there are steps they can take to address the situation. These actions vary according to the type of discrimination, but may include:
- talking with the employer or individual involved, as they may not realize they are discriminating against the autistic person
- filing an employment discrimination complaint with the EEOC or the state fair employment practices agency
- contacting a lawyer and inquire about filing a lawsuit
Various social services programs and other resources can help individuals with ASD who have experienced autism discrimination in the workplace. These may include:
- local health departments and healthcare professionals
- autism advocacy groups, such as the Autism Society, also have affiliates who can help people in their local area
- the American Civil Liberties Union, which can help people take action against discrimination in their workplace
- the EEOC, which can help people file a charge against an employer
Adult Services Vary By Location
While the IDEA law is federally mandated, adult services to individuals with disabilities are not. Most adult programs and services are paid for and managed by the state, with some programs available only on a local level. Some states are more generous with their funding than others, some have more disability-friendly employers than others, and so forth.
According to a survey conducted by the non-profit organization Autism Speaks, the metropolitan areas of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Boston are among the 10 best places in America to live for people who have autism. Survey respondents in these areas were happy with the services and programs their cities provide, including educational services and flexible employer policies.
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