Disability Discrimination

When thinking of discrimination, we often think of the behavior between different races or gender but there is another group facing discrimination, those who are disabled. People with disabilities are often discriminated against when looking for work or in the workplace itself. Although it is illegal by federal law many people with disabilities still face discrimination.

People with a disability have an unemployment rate that is at 12.5% in 2014 which is twice the per cent of the 5.9% unemployment rate of people without a disability the discrimination seems obvious. (Sola,2015) In an article in Forbes magazine this problem was looked into. They found an experiment by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The researchers sent out 6,016 fake application for junior or senior positions at different accounting firms. In these application one third stated that they have Asperger’s Syndrome and another third stated they had a spinal cord injury in the cover letter. Each application also stated that they would still be able to perform their job. The remaining one third of the application did not mention any disability. (Sola,2015) This study proved that the application without any mention of disabilities were 26% more likely to see interest from the company than those who mentioned a disability.  (Sola,2015)

Many employers use the excuse that they think they will have to provide for expensive accommodations for disabled workers. However, when looked into, people with spinal cord injuries who require a wheelchair only require a different desk size, larger pathways and accessible bathrooms. Since the bathrooms in modern buildings are already meant to be wheelchair accessible and a new desk is not expensive and widening a pathway comes at no cost these are simply excuses. As far as an employee with Asperger’s Syndrome the only accommodation they may need is some flexibility in their schedule. What this article found was that it was the stigma of having to look at a disabled person in the office every day that kept people with disabilities from being hired. (Sola,2015)

This is concerning since it is costing perfectly abled people from finding work and it is discrimination that can cover any gender, social class, race or ethnic background. One solution for this problem could be through education. Helping employers learn about what accommodations would be needed for employees with disabilities would be a start. Employers also need to learn about the benefits of these employees. In some cases, the disability the employee has in actually a help to their chosen profession as opposed to a hindrance. Like any time there is a problem with discrimination, educating those who are discriminating is a great place to start.

Penn State World Campus (2016). Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations/Diversity

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: Sage.

Sola, Katie. (Nov 3 2015). Discrimination Against Disabled Applicants Sadly ‘Not Suprising”: NDRN Director. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiesola/2015/11/03/discrimination-disabled-job/2/#390751495397

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