Like any sort of venture these days, good disability advocacy requires careful research.
Not everything is what it seems. Some media outlets are less reputable than others, and even accounts from the most reputable ones can be biased, incomplete, or outright wrong. Statistics can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, causing even professionals to draw conclusions from them that aren’t supported.
And There are Always Two Sides to Every Story
Gramer acknowledges that there still seems to be a regrettable reluctances among disabled Amazon employees to self-identify to management when they join the staff, but estimates that despite this, approximately 30% of Amazon employees are disabled . He emphasizes the importance of building a culture of inclusion, listening to each disabled employee to discover their individual accommodation needs, and realizing that not all disabilities are visible. He tells the Star interviewer that he believes the fact because Amazon has a group for people with disabilities, management listens to them, saying that he can’t think of a situation where he didn’t feel that people with disabilities weren’t respected or heard by Amazon.
He obviously didn’t hear from these people, then:
The New York State Division of Human Rights accused Amazon of the following in May 2022:
- Discriminating against disabled and pregnant people at their work sites
- Requiring disabled employees to take unpaid leaves of absence instead of providing reasonable accommodations.
- Giving onsite managers the authority to ignore in-house accommodation consultants’ recommendations for modified job schedules or responsibilities for disabled workers.
Of course, we don’t know how these cases were resolved, and don’t have information on the details of them to really even speculate on the outcome. Perhaps Gramer didn’t even hear about these specific incidents, or heard about them but wasn’t directly involved with addressing them – it could be possible.
What’s important to remember is the importance of doing good research. A big company could appear to be doing a great job with disability advocacy, with a disabled person involved in that process, and still be hurting disabled people in significant ways.
Don’t base opinions solely on positive press, especially when it comes to big companies.
The Goodwill Industries Scandal of 2013 is another illustration of this.