What Workplace Discrimination and Inequity Looks like for the Autistic Neurominority

This is based on my experience as an active advocate in the autism community for 8 years, with over 10,000 direct interactions/correspondence with autistic people and their supporters. And based on my 6 years serving as a Recruitment Manager at Ultranaut Inc., an engineering firm with an autism-hiring initiative. Join me here on Linkedin and look for hashtags #neurominority #spectrumsuite to join our movement for neurominority equality.

At a Zoom meeting, saying goodbye to the hard working team at the Stanford Neurodiversity Summit 2020, lead by Dr. Lawrence Fung. Many thanks to all the volunteers who pulled it together.

This is a reference list for the previous article: Nothing About Us Without Us

A. Roadblocks to Advancement

  • No clear progression to leadership roles
  • No delegation of increased responsibility
  • Few professional growth opportunities
  • Marked against, demoted, or not promoted, based on an inability to adhere to an insurmountable expectation (not adhering to social norms)
  • No clear definers of career mobility

B. Adversity Based on Policy or Practice

  • An unclear and subjective job screening process
  • A siloed job screening process that only autistic job seekers go through (All autistics being screened in separate facility through different process.)
  • Subjective performance reviews that lack objectivity, clear definers of success, and discriminate against disability traits (e.g., writing at length in an email.)
  • Segregated training about autism where no autistic individual are trainers or advisors or are in attendance (As an example of comparison: All male managers gathering behind close doors to discuss women, while being trained by all men about women, with inclusion defined as videos of the women talking about being a woman.)
  • Business norm mandates that don’t take into account neurological or physical capabilities (e.g., required to work in shared office space, make sustained eye contact, show image on a virtual call, attend large company meetings.)
  • Being told how to self-identify at a conference (Use on the autism spectrum not autistic.)

C. Singled Out by Superiors

  • Publicly used as an example of what not to do or how not to act
  • Publicly displayed as token minority member to increase brand, display the agencies charitable acts, or demonstrate weaknesses
  • Diagrams that display the minority member as inferior (An image of a a manager, HR personnel, and CEO depicted, standing above the seated minority member, with the minority member not labeled by their job role, but by: “employee with autism.”)
  • Being talked down to or shamed, based on disability (You talk too much.)
  • Provided with unsolicited advice about how to overcome a disability or challenge related to a disability
  • Continually doubted, questioned, accused, or blamed

D. Isolated From the Majority

  • Bullied or called names for being different
  • Made to feel inferior or less than based on disability
  • Constantly left out of groups
  • Excluded from a disability group (Autistic not being allowed into autistic employee resource group.)

E. Frequently Overlooked

  • Coworker’s performance rewarded or publicly praised, while a high-performing autistic employee is not
  • Unqualified non-autistic job seeker is hired, over qualified workers who have a disability
  • Coworker’s input valued above worker with disability
  • A conference about a specific minority group, wherein the larger percentage of speakers are not members of that minority, and where the minority member is placed on a panel as a token representative and given few opportunities to take the main stage
  • Exclusively inviting non-autistic employees to a corporate meeting to give advisory on how to include autistic individuals
  • No representation on the advisory board or board of directors of the minority
  • Canceling appointments or ignoring request to discuss inequity and inclusion concerns
  • Refusing to take the time to look at suggestions about better inclusion measures

F. Notable Division:

  • A new executive position filled, for substantially more pay, by a non-autistic person, for a similar role the autistic person was already doing
  • Autistic population is by and large part-time, low wage-earners, while full time, high wage-earners are not autistic
  • Upper management positions are frequented by non-disabled employees, while employees with disabilities are continually in lower-tiered positions
  • A non-autistic manager supervising an autistic employee who knows more about the job duties and has a higher skillset, from years at the company
  • Individuals on the spectrum not included nor represented in executive leadership teams
  • A minority group represented by homogeneous grouping without consideration for diversity, such as age, ability, race, education, experience (Mostly young men speaking aloud, who have low-entry level roles, interviewed on a news broadcast, representing the collective autistic workforce.)

Author’s note: The primary reason I am listing this here is because the previous article was long and needed to be shortened.

Bio:  Marcelle Ciampi, M.Ed. (aka Samantha Craft)

Marcelle Ciampi (aka Samatha Craft) is a respected autistic author and community advocate, is best known for her writings found in the well-received book Everyday Aspergers. A professional educator, she has been featured in various literature, including peer-reviewed journals, Autism Parenting Magazine, The Mighty, Project Aspie, Art of Autism, and Different Brains. Marcelle works as the Recruitment Manager and Outreach Specialist at Ultranauts Inc., an engineering firm with a neurodiversity-hiring initiative, and is a consultant for Uptimize and Spectrum Fusion. A contributing author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, Marcelle speaks globally on the topic of neurodiversity. She also serves as the founder of Spectrum Suite LLC, the co-founder of the Spectrum Lights Inclusion Summit, co-executive of LifeGuides for Autistics (neuroguides.org), and a contributor and advisor to autism organizations and conferences internationally. Some of her works, especially The Ten Traits, have been translated into multiple languages and been shared in counseling offices around the world. She resides in the Pacific Northwest U.S.A. with her sons and life partner.

“Everyday Aspergers is an unusual and powerful exploration of one woman’s marvelously lived life. Reminiscent of the best of Anne Lamott, Everyday Aspergers jumps back and forth in time through a series of interlocking vignettes that give insight and context to her lived experience as an autistic woman. The humor and light touch is disarming, because underneath light observations and quirky moments are buried deep truths about the human experience and about her own work as an autistic woman discerning how to live her best life. From learning how to make eye contact to finding ways to communicate her needs to being a dyslexic cheerleader and a fraught mother of also-autistic son, Samantha Craft gives us a marvelous spectrum of experiences. Highly recommended for everyone to read — especially those who love people who are just a little different.”

~ Ned Hayes, bestselling author of The Eagle TreeAdvertisements


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