Thursday, July 12, 2012

Employer Attitudes and Hiring Practices of Workers with Disabilities

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Employer Attitudes and Hiring Practices of Workers with Disabilities

Kristen J. Parsons

live paper help

Park University

Employer Attitudes and Hiring Practices of Workers with Disabilities

Employer Attitudes

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census (as cited in Hernandez, 000), there are roughly 54 million workers that possess physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities not institutionalized. The range of disabilities can include epilepsy, intellectual and learning disabilities, mental retardation, physical, psychiatric, sensory disabilities, and disabilities in general. With more disabled workers entering the workforce, employers have been forced to alter their attitudes and hiring techniques concerning this vast, untapped resource. In a study by Cornell University (000), researchers surveyed federal and private employers to determine their attitudes and responses to the employment of individuals with disabilities. They have found that a significant portion of the employers’ supervisors and associates had negative attitudes towards individuals with disabilities. According to Susanne Bruyere, Ph.D. (000), the principle investigator and director of Cornell’s Program on Employment and Disability, the obstacles that hinder employees with disabilities exist largely due to negative workplace attitudes and supervisor’s lack of training and information on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Despite an increase of laws intended to address employment discrimination and provide workplace accommodations for qualified workers with disabilities, the employment rate of individuals with disabilities has increased only a small amount since the late 180’s (Unger, 00). Employer attitudes towards people with disabilities are an important factor in the high unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities. Several studies have examined employer attitudes toward individuals with disabilities in the workplace, according to the type of disability the individual has. Prior to employer compliance of Title I regulations of the ADA, Minskoff, Sautter, Hoffman, and Hawks (as cited in Unger, 00) assessed employers across nine different industries concerning their attitudes toward individuals with learning disabilities. One third of those surveyed specified that they would not knowingly hire an interviewee with a learning disability. Employers from a variety of businesses and industries believed that workers with mental and emotional disabilities were of a greater concern than those employees with physical or communication disabilities. Employers expressed little concern about coworker acceptance or the ability of workers with disabilities to interact with other workers in the organization. They were least of all worried about the ability of persons with physical disabilities to socialize with other workers and work as part of a team. The good news is that more employers are starting to express positive attitudes toward hiring workers with severe disabilities, as well as seeing these individuals as dependable, productive workers who can interact socially and promote positive attitudes in their coworkers.

Hiring Practices

According to the U. S. Department of Labor (“What You Need to Know”, 00), the first thing employers need to recognize when marketing to people with disabilities, is that they have the same preferences, attitudes, and needs that people without disabilities have when looking for employment. Employers interested in employing people with disabilities can use a variety of strategies when attempting to recruit individuals with disabilities. There are a number of services available which provide employers assistance when searching specifically for qualified workers with disabilities. The U. S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has contracted for the Employment Assistance Referral Network (EARN), which provides all employers with a direct connection to the local employment provider (“Recruitment”, 001). This national referral service will receive a toll-free call from the employer requesting a qualified, disabled applicant. The EARN personnel then takes the employer’s information and relays it to a local employment provider, who has contact with the appropriate job candidate. Once the providers are recognized, EARN calls the employer back and provides the employer with the appropriate contact information. EARN is also an informational referral resource that provides employers with support related to the employment of individuals with disabilities. This assistance could be in regard to tax credits, laws, interviewing techniques, recruitment, as well as, ways of handling coworker attitudes, and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

Another service, which provides information about job accommodations and the employability of people with disabilities, is the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN is a service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor (“Welcome to the JAN”, 00). Their mission is to assist in the employment and preservation of workers with disabilities by offering employers and employment providers information concerning job accommodations, and the ADA. JAN helps employers hire, promote and retain employees with disabilities as well as assisting in educating them about their responsibilities under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. According to the ADA, once an employer has 15 or more employees they are required to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment-related opportunities available to others. Employers must comply with specific requirements related to reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures; effective communication with people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities; and other access requirements (“Guide to Disability Rights”, 00).

Disability still remains a barrier to entrance to the workplace. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are underrepresented in the job market, despite their desire and ability to work. Employers are becoming more willing to employ people with disabilities; however, they still seem to have many misconceptions regarding the hiring and accommodating of individuals with disabilities.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), (Accessed 1 October 00), A Guide to Disability Rights Laws.


Cornell University (Accessed 17 September 00), Americans with Disabilities Act Implementation in Federal and Private Workplaces.


Hernandez, B. (Accessed 17 September 00), Employer Attitudes Toward Workers with Disabilities and their ADA Employment Rights A Literature Review.


Office of Disability Employment Policy (Accessed 0 September 00), Job Accommodation Network Homepage.


Unger, D. (Accessed 1 October 00), Employer’s Attitudes Toward Persons with Disabilities in the Workplace Myths or Realities?


U.S. Department of Labor (Accessed 1 October 00), Marketing to Customers with Disabilities.


U.S. Department of Labor (Accessed 1 October 00), Recruitment! Recruitment! Recruitment!


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