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Chapter 6 focuses on special treatment stigma—the stigma that accompanies the need for any modifications in the workplace. First, I present evidence that employers are reluctant to accommodate workers regardless of whether the accommodation is needed because of a disability, pregnancy, or caregiving responsibilities. Second, I describe what happens when employers do accommodate workers—both in terms of what workplace consequences flow from those accommodations, and how those accommodations affect the accommodated employees’ relationships with their coworkers.
Chapter 1 introduces the concepts and ideas I discuss throughout this book. First, I provide a summary of the experiences of both individuals with disabilities and workers with caregiving responsibilities in the workplace. This summary exposes the difficulties these two groups have when trying to meet the expectations of their employers. Second, I introduce some of the laws and legal concepts that are discussed throughout the book—the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations, sex discrimination under Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Third, I briefly explain my proposal for reform. Finally, this chapter provides a brief outline of the structure of the rest of the book.
In the wake of the pandemic, many employers continue to allow their employees to work from home, but much of the workplace remains governed by strict structural norms such as shifts, schedules, attendance, and leave-of-absence policies that determine when and where work is performed. In The Workplace Reimagined, Nicole Buonocore Porter explores how these workplace norms marginalize people with disabilities and workers with caregiving responsibilities. Using COVID-19 as a lens to illustrate how entrenched workplace norms are often not inevitable or necessary, Porter theoretically and practically reconceptualizes the workplace to end the stigmatization of these employees and helps readers understand the value of accommodating all workers. The Workplace Reimagined is timely, eye-opening, and will help us realize a workplace in which we account for the reality, the precarity, and the diversity of all our lives and bodies.
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