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The 70th Anniversary starts today

Today is the 70th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The United States Department of Labor started it in 1945 to help assist those of us with disabilities, of all types, to be able to gain employment and live by ourselves or contribute to society, which after all is a very reasonable goal. Just like Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to victims of DV, and breast Cancer Awareness Month is to the sufferers & survivors of that insidious disease, those that are disabled and want to work think this is fairly important.

If you suddenly became disabled and told you couldn’t work anymore what would you do? Over and above the jokes about finally taking a vacation and a nice long rest, how would you feel down deep inside? I dare say not very well. To be perfectly honest you feel useless and a burden on your family, reality or not. That is your reality.

            You try and look for work, but no one wants you, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the economy. So what are some of the reasons, or observations you make while on the job hunt?

  1. You get treated like a pariah, or it seems that way. Your ‘disease’ is contagious
  2. You’re stupid, overnight, because you’re disabled(don’t discount this one, I’ve encountered it more than once in 12 years)
  3. You’re disabled, you can’t do the things we want and need you to do
  4. You’ll cost us too much money to accommodate, therefore we won’t even interview you, so we’ll find a good reason to deny the application

            Being blunt, many companies when they see someone with a disability coming to their door to apply for a job, they simply don’t want anything to do with the person, despite what their policies say. They have anti-discrimination policies and mission statements, but those are just for current employees, not necessarily for an applicant. And if they never interview you then how can you prove discrimination against the disabled? You can’t, which for many hiring managers & other supervisors, solves their problem. To paraphrase an old adage ‘Why hire a potential problem, when you can just ignore it and it’ll go away?’ it may be sad but true, even in today’s world of tolerance for everyone and everything.

What are some of the other disadvantages to being disabled and trying to find a job? Here is another small list of them. There are many others who will have worse job search issues than these:

  • Getting the proper training
  • Locating the proper resources including advocates & assistance centers
  • The system that the government has set up is cumbersome and time consuming. And the reliability isn’t very good at times
  • Equipment you’ll need to do the job you’re hired for. Most employers don’t realize that

there are programs available to compensate them for the expenditures, at least partially

Those are just a few of the issues that disabled people have problems with in finding a job. Are their ways around those? For some of them, yes. For others, no. And unfortunately this leaves us feeling totally helpless and useless.

Yes, I said useless. Despite what we mean to our families, many of us feel absolutely useless to the world and many others because we can’t work. As useless as having a uni-cycle for carrying passengers.

Despite being disabled, we still want to contribute to society, our families, and pay our own way. One of the greatest things we would like is to be able to buy things for others, and a disability income doesn’t go too far. We want to work but no one will give you a chance. It’s disheartening and makes your gut hurt because you can’t help anyone. And I have met more than a few blind people who can’t find work who have fallen into a deep dark chasm of depression because of it.

Just a lil statistic that no one ever talks about… Of the blind people who want to work and not necessarily be on the ‘dole’, the unemployment rates are staggering. 59% of men and 69% of women. Those are higher than they were before the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in the early 90’s. And you want to tell me, and all disabled people, that there isn’t an employment issue with us and getting a job?

One of the greatest businessmen living today said something that can apply to all employers. Sir Richard Branson said succinctly “You can’t run a business without taking risks”. Are you ready to take the risk and hire a disabled person within your business? Or are you an analogy to what Wayne Gretzky once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

By not even trying to hire a disabled person you’re missing out. Possibly the next greatest thing in your business. Think about it and try hiring someone disabled. It may work or it may not, but if you take Sir Richard Branson & Wayne Gretzky to heart…

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                                              I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Domestic Violence Awareness

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And whether you believe it’s a serious problem or not, unfortunately, many times it becomes the problem of management, security, & HR. But why should it be, when it’s such a personal issue and relegated to a ‘domestic’ problem not work?

The issue becomes important and pertinent to us all because domestic violence can come into our businesses and create chaos, havoc, & destruction on everyone inside. Whether they are there when an incident occurs or even if they just know someone who was injured, threatened, or had the s*** scared out of them by a potential incident.

It can wreck &   ruin lives, create chaos and havoc. The lives it ruins can literally cause trauma for decades. And if the company does nothing to combat it before it starts and enters, then they can be held liable for the death and destruction that can visit them.


A few statistics that may bring home DV to anyone who may not have been visited by its insidious presence before and realized its impact on the workplace;

40% of all murders in the workplace involving women are related to domestic violence

3 – 4 women are murdered by their significant others every single day of the year

Murder is the #1 cause of death for women at work

5% of all WPV is committed by someone with a connection to the worker

Between 3 – 5 billion annually in lost productivity, absenteeism, and health care

High Profile Incidents:

  • December 2012, Kansas City Chiefs Jevon Belcher committed suicide at the team’s practice facility. He had murdered his girlfriend at their home.
  • Anyone remember Rae CArruth of the Carolina Panthers? He hired someone to kill his pregnant girlfriend
  • March 2014 Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens knocking his girlfriend out and dragging her to their room at a hotel. And no team will now let him play
  • And then Barry Bonds harassing & threatening his girlfriend in Phoenix
  • Do you remember Claus Von Bulow? He ‘supposedly’ murdered his heiress wife Sunny for money

And this list could go on for an entire blog or book. The point is that these are just the high profile incidents that I can pull up at the time. There are literally hundreds, more likely millions, more. And while most DV incidents are forgotten about soon after and rarely lead to death it is the same. We all scream and yell at our significant others, calling them names that we later take back and never meant in the first place. But sometimes that anger can explode into physical contact that can hurt long after the bruises & scratches heal.

As for statistics, think about the one above of 3-4 women are killed every day by their significant other. This is the same number that was killed in the workplace every day in the 90’s. We were all in such an up-roar then over that. Where is the outrage over DV because of these numbers? Is it because it happens at home and not at a business?


So the statistics may be unsettling for some. But after they have been digested and you have accepted them the next question is how to protect your employees. For both victims and co-workers alike. It’s more than just protecting the business and its financial resources. Here are a few areas that you need to think about for DV prevention occurring in your business.

  • Listening and believing that the employee may be abused
  • Looking for the signs of abuse – even if they deny it
  • Security procedures for an abused employee
  • Assistance programs (EAP) for an abused employee
  • Legal, security, & spiritual help for the employee (don’t let legal tell you that you can’t)
  • Ease of transferring of employees to different shifts or locations to avoid the abuser
  • Extra security measures in parking lots, entrances, & such
  • Recording (or ability) of phone calls on the company phone
  • Surveillance of the employee, escorted or not, to and from their vehicle
  • Privacy of the employee if they are abused (should be limited to a ‘need to know’ basis)


                DV is not just a personal issue, especially when it comes into the workplace and threatens co-workers, customers, and the well-being of everyone there. It is an issue that literally can make some employees fear for their lives, whether they are the victim or not.

Many television shows and movies have shown DV in a humorous situation. And while it can be put into a humorous light, it is seldom funny to the victim. The Honeymooners, All in the Family, & Family Guy. There was never any doubt that Ralph Kramden and Archie Bunker loved their wives, but the yelling, berating, & threats were DV.

As security and HR professionals we need to recognize the potential of DV to invade our work spaces and cause injury. And the injury will typically not just be relegated to the abused employee. Many times it will spill over to co-workers – and if it’s a customer…

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                                           I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear