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Before proceeding with your e-mail, please note:

If you are not a current client of the Law Office of Kristine A. Sova, please do not include any information in this e-mail that you or someone else considers to be of a confidential or secret nature. The Law Office of Kristine A. Sova has no duty to keep confidential any of the information you provide.

In addition, please be advised that the transmission of information via this website or by e-mail does not establish an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship with the Law Office of Kristine A. Sova is not established until and unless the Law Office of Kristine A. Sova agrees to such a relationship in a separate written document.

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  • Labor and Employment Law
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The Language of Disability: Top 10 Dos and Don’ts

On Thursday, September 22, 2016, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop led by Christine Bruno, Disability Advocate, and David Harrell, Disability and Program Associate, from Inclusion in the Arts.  A portion of the workshop focused on the language of disability — particularly dos and don’ts — and is a useful tool for workplace inclusion and diversity initiatives as well as equal employment opportunity (EEO) compliance.  Employers, lawyers, and HR professionals: Please consider using these examples in your next workplace training.

  1.  DON’T USE wheelchair-bound/confined to.  DO USE wheelchair user/ uses a wheelchair.
  2. DON’T USE suffers from/afflicted with/crippled by/victim of.  These terms make assumptions about how the disabled person feels about his/her disability. Use “has” and the name of condition (e.g., has cerebral palsy, has paraplegia, etc.).
  3. DON’T USE the disabled/the blind/the deaf.  Always use as an adjective rather than a noun – disabled person, blind filmmaker, deaf man or woman.
  4. DON’T USE retarded (e.g., mentally retarded)/retard.  USE intellectual disability; cognitive disability; developmental disability (when using these terms, however, it is important to understand the distinction among them).
  5. DON’T USE handicapped (handicap).  In general: If you’re not writing about sports, don’t use it! Use disability, disabled person, person with a disability.  Similarly, DON’T USE handicapped parking, restroom, etc.  USE accessible parking, restroom, etc.
  6. DON’T USE midget/dwarf.  DO USE little person. (Dwarf is acceptable only if the person actually has dwarfism.) Keep in mind: Anyone with dwarfism is a little person, but every little person is not a dwarf.
  7. DON’T USE deaf-mute/deaf and dumb/hearing-impaired.  DO USE deaf or hard of hearing.
  8. DON’T USE physically challenged/differently abled.  Avoid outdated or saccharine terms and euphemisms. Use disabled as an adjective (e.g., disabled sportscaster) or person-first language (e.g., person with a disability).
  9. DON’T USE overcoming/inspiring/brave/courageous.  Avoid patronizing and condescending descriptives – describe the person’s accomplishments without value judgment or interpretation.
  10. DON’T USE special/special needs.  Do not use when referring to disabled people.
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Posted on | Diversity and Inclusion, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)