Ted Kennedy, Jr., Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Stamford, Connecticut, office, was quoted in HR Brew, in “Despite Progress Toward Inclusion, Report Finds Few Employees Openly Identify as Disabled,” by Kristen Parisi.

Following is an excerpt:

Even as employers appear to make progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) employment numbers, the World Economic Forum reports that just 4% of global businesses prioritize disability inclusivity, despite 90% expressing a commitment to diversity, according to The Valuable 500.

Disability:IN, an organization that works to bring “disability inclusion and equality” to the forefront of diversity initiatives, released their eighth annual Disability Equality Index (DEI) Report on July 19. The 2022 report reviewed the disability inclusion progress of 415 companies—including ADP, Comcast NBCUniversal, and Boston Scientific, who have perfect scores—representing more than 14.9 million employees in the US and 8.8 million globally.

Companies that elect to participate in the DEI report are graded on an 100-point scale that assesses their workplace accessibility, inclusive employment practices, and disability inclusion at all levels, including in leadership. Despite the progress made toward disability inclusion, the results suggest businesses may still be struggling to encourage employees to openly identify as disabled, which is key to belonging. …

The work ahead. While Houghton is inspired by the growing number of employers that pledge to focus on doing better for disabled people, she says there’s still a long way to go in achieving disability belonging.

“There are still many Fortune 500 companies who for one reason or another, do not participate [in the DEI], and really have a tough time understanding what they’re doing from a disability inclusion perspective,” Ted Kennedy Jr., co-chair of the Disability Equality Index and board member of American Association of People with Disabilities, said. He believes some companies haven’t focused on disability inclusion not because they “don’t care” but because “it’s new to them,” and organizations like Disability:IN are instrumental in bridging the knowledge gap and “providing a solution.”

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