While we would prefer to think otherwise, the simple and sad truth is that qualified disabled people often face very real, very challenging -- and sometimes very illegal -- obstacles in their quest to find suitable employment.
Even though state lawmakers have historically been less than diligent in working to rectify this reality, the good news is that it now appears as if the Florida Legislature is perhaps poised to take meaningful action.
What exactly is this meaningful action?
Earlier this week, Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) introduced a bill designed to help disabled people secure government jobs. Specifically, it would see more positions opened up in the executive branch's agencies.
How would this be accomplished?
It would mandate that these executive agencies, which are already required to set yearly employment objectives to help ensure adequate representation of otherwise under-represented groups, to make sure that their numbers include disabled individuals.
Does it call for anything else?
Yes. The bill calls for mandatory training for human resource employees and managers tasked with hiring decisions on how to fulfill the objective of hiring more disabled individuals. It also calls for the creation of specialized employment-related programs designed to empower the disabled.
Why does this bill seem familiar?
It likely seems familiar because Ring introduced a similar measure last year. Indeed, it was passed by the Senate, but ultimately failed to pass the House after it adjourned early over legislative differences.
Will this year's bill fare any better?
It's too early to tell whether the bill will gain the necessary traction. However, it did pass the first senate committee earlier this week.
Stay tuned for updates ...
If you believe that you've been victimized by any sort of employment discrimination on the basis of a disability or other prohibited grounds, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and options.