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      Christie Patient
      Keymaster

      October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Everyone has a right to employment, but even with laws protecting the rights of disabled people to have an accessible and safe workspace, we still hear stories of people having to repeatedly advocate for their needs at work. Despite having a good HR team on her side, Charlene has recently had issues with secondhand smoke at her workplace. As a person with pulmonary disease, her right to healthy, clean air should take precedence over her coworkers’ choice to smoke, yet her superiors haven’t moved the smoking area to a more suitable place. This is one example of many instances in which the onus is on the disabled/ill person to advocate for their rights at work.

      It can be exhausting and upsetting to continually have to fight for your rights–especially with an invisible disability, as you have to continuously verbalize and validate your medical history. How do you deal with ableist confrontations at work? Do your coworkers and managers recognize their privilege and advocate alongside you, or do they dismiss your needs?

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