Employer Perspectives on Disability Inclusion

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Research Summary

At-a-Glance

Fewer than one in five people with a disability receive accommodations in the workplace, and many people with disabilities are unprepared to disclose their disability or negotiate accommodations. To better understand employer accommodation practices with youth with disabilities and how companies create inclusive environments, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 18 employers who hire young people with disabilities. This research provides recommendations for vocational rehabilitation professionals to better serve jobseekers with disabilities and potential employers.

Key Findings

  • Most employers interviewed had strategies in place to encourage youth to disclose their disabilities and request accommodations.
  • Employers tended to be more accommodating to people with physical or visible disabilities than to people with psychological disabilities.
  • Employers with inclusive environments described trust, rapport, and open communication with employees.
  • Employers were more likely to provide disability accommodations if they were:
    • knowledgeable or informed about disability legislation.
    • experienced in working with people with disabilities.
    • positive about hiring people with disabilities.

Put it into Practice

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Tips and tools to help you apply best practices at work.

Vocational rehabilitation professionals can better serve employers and improve quality of employment and employment outcomes for people with disabilities by:

  • educating employers about accommodations and accessibility.
  • supporting employers to create a safe environment for employees to discuss their disability.
  • partnering with employers enhance the disability disclosure request for accommodations processes.
  • providing employers with disability awareness training.
  • addressing employer stigmas and discrimination.

More About the Research

Topics discussed during the in-depth interviews included current practices for enabling disclosure and workplace accommodations for youth with disabilities, whether and how employers create an inclusive environment, and how employers attract and retain youth with disabilities.

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Learn More

Lindsay, S.; Cagliostro, E.; Leck, J.; Shen, W.; & Stinson, J. (2019). Employers’ perspectives of including young people with disabilities in the workforce, disability disclosure and providing accommodations. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 50 (2), 141-156.

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