Perks or Rights? Accommodating Neurodiversity in the Unionized Workplace

by: Katherine Breward

Publication Date: July 27, 2022
Length: 14 pages
Product ID#: 5-089-508

Core Disciplines: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Social Impact, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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Second Place Winner; 2022 DEI Global Case Writing Competition.

This case features a high-performing employee, Fatima Hassan, with an invisible disability and whose career may also be affected by her gender and religious identity. Traits related to Hassan’s autism contribute to her success but also present challenges, so she seeks out a disability accommodation that could be perceived as a perk by her peers. She would also like to be considered for a promotion. Her manager must decide how to respond to the initial accommodation request while also assessing whether Hassan’s disability is relevant when making a promotion decision. All this takes place in a unionized setting in which the collective agreement must be respected, creating decision-making constraints.

The case is fictionalized but based on actual experiences and companies.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Identify an organization’s legal and ethical obligations relating to disability accommodation in the workplace.
  • Discuss the influence of unionization on disability accommodation processes in the workplace.
  • Anticipate social difficulties that neuro-diverse workers might experience as a result of internalized ableism among coworkers, with particular attention paid to intersectional effects associated with having multiple stigmatized identities.
  • Develop specific human resources strategies and tactics to mitigate negative social and professional consequences associated with disability accommodations being perceived as perks or special treatment.