Employers reluctant to hire workers with disabilities, says new survey
April 1, 2003 -- Only one in four companies in the U.S. employs workers who are known to have disabilities. This is one of the key findings of the latest report from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
Restricted Access: A Survey of Employers About People with Disabilities and Lowering Barriers to Work, was released a few weeks ago and is available online as a PDF file. A lack of physical accessibility, lack of experience on the part of disabled jobseekers, employer reluctance to hire a worker with a physical or mental disability, and discrimination are all reasons for this finding, says the report.
"When asked what the greatest barrier to employers hiring people with disabilities, nearly one-third (32%) say that the nature of their company's work is such that it cannot be effectively performed by workers with disabilities," write the authors. The report was prepared by K.A. Dixon, with Doug Kruse, Ph.D. and Carl E. Van Horn, Ph.D.
"Many employers do not provide any training to their employees regarding working with people with disabilities," they write.
From the report:
"Thirteen years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act that mandated greater access to the workplace for people with disabilities, disability remains a barrier to entrance to the workplace," say the report's authors. "People with disabilities are underrepresented in the labor market, despite the desire and ability to work. Restricted Access reveals that though many employers are willing to hire people with disabilities, misconceptions regarding hiring and accommodation abound."
Restricted Access is the fourteenth in the Work Trends survey series, which "polls American workers and employers about issues regarding the economy, the workforce, and the workplace, and how they view the policy choices made by lawmakers to address their concerns."
The survey and project were directed by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, and funded in part by The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workforce Investment and Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities, which in turn is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
Restricted Access: A Survey of Employers About People with Disabilities and Lowering Barriers to Work, by K.A. Dixon with Doug Kruse, Ph.D. and Carl E. Van Horn, Ph.D. is available online as a PDF file To download the file go to http://www.heldrich.rutgers.edu . For a copy of the report in accessible format or for more information, contact:
Read the EEOC's Primer for Small Business on complying with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act