Four Corporate Disability Equity Truths

Permanent improvements in disability equity are impossible without understanding and dealing with these categorical truths.

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
The Startup
Published in
5 min readJan 14, 2021


Worn black piece of paper with white letters spelling TRUTH in a pothole on worn asphalt
Photo by Michael Carruth on Unsplash

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People with disabilities do not have access to equal business opportunities. If you don’t believe that, I ask you to look at Exhibits 1 and 2 — the unemployment rates for people with disabilities both pre and post-pandemic which took a bad situation and made it vastly worse.

To dismantle these barriers, every one of these truths below must be analyzed and addressed across the entire organization, not just the ones your organization is most likely to get sued over.

Fact #1: Your organization is under employing people with disabilities

  • The total number of people with disabilities in the US as a percentage of the population is around 18 %. More than 19 % of US college students report having a disability.
  • About 10.5 % of the population has a disability AND is aged between 18 and 65.
  • The federal government’s goal for employing people with disabilities is 7 %.
  • There is precisely *ONE* American company currently achieving the federal government’s goal — Northrup Grumman.

Even organizations considered accessibility leaders like Google and Facebook haven’t reached the 7 % goal.

So unless you work for Northrup Grumman, chances are your organization is doing one or both of the following:

  1. Not employing enough people with disabilities;
  2. Not operating an organization where people with invisible disabilities feel comfortable disclosing them.



Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
The Startup

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.