Discrimination Impacts All Sectors

CW: Ableism

Elon Musk apologized publicly to Haraldur Thorleifsson, an Icelandic entrepreneur who joined Twitter in 2021 after the social media business purchased his design firm. A few weeks ago, during the most recent round of layoffs at the business, he was fired.

Musk’s apology followed a series of posts between him and Thorleifsson during which Thorleifsson sought clarification on his employment status. Musk repeatedly questioned him about his position within the business.

The conversation deteriorated when Musk claimed that Thorleifsson “did no actual work” at Twitter and that he had a disability that “prevented him from typing” as a justification.

Thorleifsson worked as a middle manager in Twitter’s design team in a role that rarely required typing. He explained in a separate post that he has muscular dystrophy. As a result, Thorleifsson has used a wheelchair for the past 20 years.

Doron Dorfman, is a professor at Seton Hall University who focuses on disability and employment discrimination. Dorfman says that this conversation highlights what he refers to as “fear of the disability con”. This is the notion that staff members who have access to reasonable accommodations are seeking preferential treatment.

Many disabled people face discrimination in the workplace. A key factor in discrimination is that four out of every five disabilities are invisible according to Time Magazine. Examples of invisible disabilities include hearing loss, heart defects, and dyslexia. Sometimes people are also reluctant to disclose whether they identify as disabled out of concern about bias, prejudice, and discrimination at work.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 21.3 percent of disabled people were employed last year, up from 19.1 percent in 2021. This is the highest percentage ever recorded. Unfortunately, we are still more likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people. In fact, the unemployment rate for disabled people is still triple that of non-disabled people.

Disabilities shouldn’t prevent people from finding employment. data shows that disabled people are reliable, creative, and hardworking. Employers, however, won’t know this if they don’t hire us.


Bove, Tristan. “Elon Musk’s Public Disability Shaming Highlights a Bigger Workplace Problem.” Fortune, Fortune Media Group Holdings Limited, 11 Mar. 2023, https://fortune.com/2023/03/11/elon-musk-mocks-disabled-twitter-employee-workplace-discrimination/.

Ceron, Ella. “Remote Work Helps Push Disabled Employment to a Record High of 21%. but the Gain Is Imperiled by Return to the Office Mandates.” Fortune, Fortune Media Group Holdings, 25 Feb. 2023, https://fortune.com/2023/02/24/remote-work-disabled-employment-record-high-remote-work-office-mandates/.

Parker, Rhiannon, and Paul Polman. “Why Businesses Must Stop Disregarding People with Disabilities.” Time , Time, 12 Jan. 2023, https://time.com/collection/davos-2023/6246262/businesses-must-be-inclusive/.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: