Posted on 03/17/22 in Advocacy
Did you know that one out of every four Americans has a disability? That is a lot of talent potential for employers.
Yet, many people with disabilities are afraid to ask for accommodations that would make them more productive for fear of not being hired or even fired from their current job. They may fear that asking for accommodations might mean being passed up for a promotion or losing their health care. An employee may struggle more with a disability if they don’t feel they are able to ask for accommodations as they try to hide or work around their condition.
However, there are many advantages to hiring and making accommodations for people with disabilities. One is that people with disabilities are resourceful and adaptive to new situations and creative in their solutions. These are some qualities that employers want in employees.
In fact, a study done by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) found that employers that hire people with disabilities and make accommodations have learned that the accommodations are often low cost and have a positive effect on the workplace. Therefore, the cost of reasonable accommodation far outweighs the associated cost. For example, the retention rate is higher as the employer retains valuable employees. In turn, the workplace productivity and morale increase, which reduces workers’ compensation and training costs. The company’s diversity increases, as people with disabilities are diverse.
JAN’s study found that most of the accommodation cost nothing, and the rest ran an average of $500. According to the study, the benefits of making accommodations are:
- retaining a valued employee,
- eliminating the costs associated with training a new employee,
- increasing the employee's attendance,
- increasing diversity of the company,
- saving workers' compensation or other insurance costs,
- hiring a qualified person with a disability, and
- improving employee performance, leading to promotions.
Some indirect benefits include improving interactions with co-workers, increasing overall company morale, increasing overall company productivity, increasing safety, improving interactions with customers, increasing overall company attendance, increasing profitability, and increasing customer base.
The myth that health care costs go up by hiring a person with a disability is just that, a myth. Cornell University conducts a survey of human resource managers and found that companies' health, life, and disability insurance costs rarely rise because of hiring employees with disabilities. These attitudinal stereotypes in the workplace about people with disabilities need to be challenged as it is a barrier to both people with disabilities and potential employers.
To learn more about workplace accommodations and how to best request and fulfill accommodation requests, please be sure to join us March 29th. To learn more and register, visit our "Workplace Accommodations – An Advocacy Toolkit” event calendar.