For people who have non-obvious disabilities, it is further discrimination to have to prove that you are disabled. I was born with only partial lung working. An emergency surgery when I was born caused nerve damage and damaged my lungs. Saved my life but at a cost. I am not angry at the surgeon. I was lucky I was born at a time when this could be corrected and I could live.
However, the result of that is that physical activities are not the same for me. In jobs where there is a high physical requirement, that is really tiring and makes my focus and ability to give 100% compromised. Imagine how it would feel if you had to walk miles to get to your job and you only could breathe half of the capacity you have now. It means that after about two blocks of walking, you are breathless and have to stop and take a breath and that moving heavy equipment is also dangerous and tiring.
Now many people have disabilities that we can’t see. When someone brings up a disability we should believe them. “But Brian, won’t people lie and take advantage of this? Of course, they will. People will always find loopholes. But what is the worse thing? To make your staff feel you don’t trust them, or to say “Thank you for sharing this. We can make accommodations.”
Since I needed to prove this I went to a doctor and he examined me. He was very thorough and it took two hours and of course a copayment. A further cost for people with disabilities. Plus the inconvenience and work to get to a doctor and its not easy to book an appointment. The doctor wrote out guidelines of what he thought I could do based on my condition and I gave those to my employer.
Now let’s compare this with someone who has a wheelchair or is blind. Would someone ask them to prove their disability? Of course not. Yet people do fake those conditions as well. Companies love to use inconsistent logic because they lack empathy because they haven’t suffered in the same way.
When you try to imagine the reality for non-obvious disabled people it looks bleak. What seems like a normal person is facing anything but normal challenges. I used to have ADHD/ADD and I was told that I just needed to “focus” and not “be lazy”. It had nothing to do with being lazy. I was working hard to focus but my brain lacked the ability to do so. Don’t blame the victim who can’t do what normal people do. Get them to a doctor and see if they need help.
Disabilities are real. Not believing people is BS.