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Why Should a Disability Be a Barrier to a Retail Job?
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Why Should a Disability Be a Barrier to a Retail Job?

Have you ever walked into your favorite store and noticed disabled associates working? What if the seemingly normal-looking associates had, in fact, a disability that was not visible?

Employers must open their minds and not let the common mindset be a dictator. Besides that, there are actual benefits to employing a disabled person - and not just to fill a job role. Research has found that people with disabilities don't have as many sick leaves, or days off, and actually stay focused longer. On top of that, insurance and compensation costs are lower.

So why aren't employers biting the bullet?

Darren Hooper, from Max Employment, explains that employers don't know how to accommodate and make adjustments as necessary. They aren't trying to discriminate against the disability or the person, they just don't have the confidence to acquire the knowledge to move forward. A misconception is also that people with disabilities do not want to work. That is not true.

It is not that people with disabilities don't want to work - they just are not given the opportunity to. And some are even made to retire early due to their health. It is essentially waving the white flag before you even have to.

Could this be more damaging than we believe it to be? Bernie Smith, from the Shop, Distributive and Allied Services union, believes that employers create inflexible job descriptions that only serves to limit opportunities. Such limiting descriptions impacts more than they believe; someone's income, well-being and even their relationships.

Will this mindset potentially lead to a nosedive in the economy?

Bonnie Millen, at People with Disability, brings this very real idea to light. She brings up the question of why would any retailer want to remove potential sales from their store? Seeing as the sales would come from customers, and if customers are not walking into the retailer... no sale would be made.

And if there aren't enough people to work in a store because of potential discrimination, what would then happen to sales?

By making everyone inclusive in a community, the community can grow - and so can the economy. But if most people are being labeled as disabled, or in fact are disabled, this puts them out of work; which in turn leads to paying more taxes.

And what about overall good business conduction?

Walking into a messy store is an accident waiting to happen. Not only for people with disabilities but for anyone. Or even anyone with a temporary disability, like crutches.Robyn Ryan, from ParaQuad NSW, explains that these kinds of barriers are an issue both for customers and workers. If it is not tidied up she cannot go to the store.

Wouldn't this be a good wake up call to more efficient workplace conduction? And an overall improvement in the lives of everyone? Being inclusive, being a part of a community and feeling happy goes a long way to boost everyone up.

Suzanne Colbert, Australian Network on Disability, illustrates that if we can work to get it right for one group, we can work to get it right for the whole of the community.


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