People with disabilities face unemployment at nearly four times the rate of the general population, not because they do not want to work or are unqualified. Unfortunately, many employers do not realize the benefits that people with disabilities can bring to the workplace.
Individuals with disabilities represent the single largest and most diverse minority group. Often, concerns over the cost of equipment, training or insurance clout opportunities for people with disabilities. Other times, employers worry that employees with disabilities simply will not fit an organization’s culture, or are perceived as less productive.
Today’s post will tackle a few of these perceptions and show the facts, in an effort to help employers recognize and address these myths and negative stereotypes. Such myths and stereotypes often exclude individuals with disabilities from the workplace despite their willingness and ability to work.
Perception: the potential unknown costs of accommodations.
Fact: Employers already make accommodations daily, such as scheduling flexibility, allowances in dress code rules, or providing a comfortable chair. According to the 2014 U.S. Department of Labor, Job Accommodations Network (JAN) report on workplace accommodation. The report concluded, “workplace accommodations not only are low cost, but also positively impact the workplace in many ways.” Click here to view.
Perception: concerns over job performance.
Fact: According to a study done by DePaul University, “Exploring the Bottom Line: A Study of the Costs and Benefits of Workers with Disabilities.” The study, “noted low absenteeism rates and long tenures. They also described their employees with disabilities as loyal, reliable, and hardworking.” Click here to view.
Perception: an increase in insurance premiums.
Fact: Insurance rates are based on the relative hazard of the job and the accident history of the workplace, and not on whether workers have disabilities.
Perception: co-workers will be uncomfortable and worried about saying the wrong thing.
Fact: simple etiquette and mutual respect can avoid relationship barriers. Click here to view 10 Tips.
Perception: productivity will be negatively impacted.
Fact: working alongside an individual who has overcome major challenges in their life and managed their disability on the job raises morale, creating a positive working environment for everyone.
Perception: employees with disabilities are more difficult to supervise than employees without a disability.
Fact: Employees with disabilities should be held accountable to the same job standards as any other employee. Managers should be confident that their supervisory skills will work equally with all employees – with and without disabilities.
How can you make a difference for individuals with disabilities?
- For Employers, schools and community-based organizations, the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has created 31 tips to help promote employment for people with disabilities during the month of October, which is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Click here to view.
- Recognize and support businesses that employ individuals with disabilities.
- Contact PRIDE Industries at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how your business can employ individuals with disabilities.
Together we can change lives…one job at a time.