Fighting for disabled workers rights amid pandemic

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 11:57 in Mathematics & Economics

This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates. Ariella Barker, M.C./M.P.A. ’20, has spent her life taking on the workplace challenges faced by people with disabilities. As the graduate returns to her job as an attorney for the city of New York, litigating employment discrimination and labor law cases, the challenges have become all the more urgent — and universal — amid the COVD-19 pandemic. Returning to workspaces when there is a probability of being sickened? Remote work? Affordable health care? “I think that COVID-19 is going to open up a lot of disability issues that everyone is going to have to deal with, that people with disabilities have been dealing with forever,” Barker said. Barker, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) at age 3 and has used a wheelchair since age 11, knows these issues well. With her many health care needs, she cannot afford...

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