One of the more common things people are told they can’t do is drive a forklift because of safety hazards. This often leads to the attitude that those same people can’t do other things around a warehouse or even in the back-end of a store. If any human resource person needs convincing, often the best thing to do is get somebody to say it is possible. It’s not just somebody that can say it and convince Human Resources (HR). But, the Walgreens CEO is a pretty safe bet.
“Fears about more accidents had come up, but we found deaf forklift drivers – who many companies won’t hire – are twice as safe as someone who can hear,” says Lewis. “If I could give everyone a piece of advice, it would be to put plugs in the ears of their forklift truck drivers.” (Randy – HR Magazine)
It is amazing what one man can do when he changes his attitude. While Randy Lewis’s attitude is all because he has a son with autism, it is an attitude that employers need to be adopting when employing anybody that is different from the “norm” society has generally accepted. With this exact quote, any person that wants to operate a forklift can go to their HR manager and share that with them. If the Walgreens CEO said so, it must be true! And on top of that, he also encourages people to cut back on the they vs we attitude when hiring.
Everybody has their own skill-set and just because somebody is autistic or has downs syndrome doesn’t mean they are unable to do the job (with reasonable accommodations). The ADA law is in place for a reason, however it has still been very damaging for people from this community. Back when Jackie Robinson (first black baseball player) became a baseball player, people couldn’t believe it because of course, black people can’t play baseball!
Remembering every single basis for discrimination over the years, there has had to be a “civil rights” movement just to get basic rights in place for individuals of a minority group. Is that what employers will need in order to accept that there are people who can do the job just as good if not better than their “non-disabled” counterparts? With this article in place, Randy has done the community a huge favor by mentioning them directly and associating the with a certain position that they are generally rejected from.
Sometimes it doesn’t need to have such powerful people behind a statement, the community needs to come together and dominate. Work together and prove to employers that they are fully capable of working and show them why. It’s an uphill battle and every single article that is written proving that people can do it, regardless.