Did you know many talented people have lived with various types of disabilities and are famed for their gifts rather than their lesser known disabilities? Cher, talk show host Jay Leno, and Academy Award actor Harry Belafonte are thought to have a form of dyslexia. Alexander Graham Bell (best known for his invention of the telephone) had a learning disability. Painter, sculptor, and inventor, Leonardo da Vinci was believed to have had epilepsy. President John F. Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor had asthma. Halle Berry is diabetic. And the list continues. We admire these people for their many accomplishments, and at Southwest Airlines, we strive to empower all Employees in our Southwest Family.
Beginning in 1998, Congress designated October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The purpose of the designation was to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for this year is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.” Here at Southwest Airlines, we are proud of the many talents our Employees bring to our workforce each day.
I am one of the Managers in the People Department and have the responsibility for workplace accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Southwest Airlines has a Team specifically designated to help Employees who may have a disability and are in need of a workplace accommodation that could assist the Employee in continuing to work or getting the Employee back to work. Also, Southwest has a Disability Discrimination and Accommodation Policy that can be found in Guidelines for Employees on SWALife.
Throughout October and all through the year, let’s all remember that it is not a person’s disability but abilities that matter.