Employers assume people with disabilities won't stay in jobs. In fact, research shows we stay longer than employees without disabilities. Many also assume people with disabilities will make a higher level of workers compensation claims. But we make fewer claims. And we're better at dealing with the impact of our disability and are less likely to put ourselves at risk.
Employers also assume people with disabilities will take more sick leave when research shows we take less. We're also more resilient and better problem solvers, bringing different experiences and perspectives to the workplace as a result of the challenges we face in everyday life.
So we're the sorts of people employers say – and I believe do – want to have on board. The challenge is attitudes and assumptions.
That's why we launched the Attitude Foundation last year. We're creating documentaries to tell the stories of real people with disabilities. By challenging and changing people's thinking, attitudes and behaviour we hope to empower people with disabilities.
If we can change assumptions and shape a new understanding of disability in the community we should see an improvement in the employment space.
Graeme Innes is a former Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Chair of the Attitude Foundation.