8 Biggest Myths About Hiring People With Disabilities

By Workplace Initiative Team

There are many myths and misconceptions about hiring people with disabilities. Get the facts about eight common myths surrounding employees with disabilities, and learn how disability inclusion can give companies a competitive edge.

Myth #1: People with disabilities can only do certain types of jobs.

Fact: From Oscar winners to Nobel Prize winners to Fortune 500 CEOs, there are people with disabilities succeeding in nearly every field of work. A 2017 study found 30 percent of white-collar, college-educated employees have a disability. Of these, 62 percent have an “invisible disability.” This means others don’t know a person has a disability unless they’re told about it. 

Myth #2: People with disabilities aren’t ready and willing to work.

Fact: The vast majority of Americans with disabilities are striving to work. According to a national survey, 68 percent of people with disabilities are currently working, looking for work, or have worked since they became disabled. Of those who are currently employed, 40 percent say they want to work more hours.

Myth #3: People with disabilities need expensive accommodations.

Fact: Many employers say it costs little or nothing to accommodate workers with disabilities. According to a survey by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), 58 percent of accommodations cost nothing, and nearly all the rest involved a one-time cost that averaged only $500. Plus, tax incentives such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and On-the-Job Training (OJT) Dollars can also help employers cover the costs of accommodations. Learn more about potential tax benefits for your company from disability inclusion.

Myth #4: People with disabilities can’t meet the same standards.

Fact: Hiring people with disabilities is not about charity. And employees with disabilities can and should be held to the same performance standards as all employees. As with any hiring effort, disability inclusion is about matching the right candidate to the right job. A multi-year Walgreens study found that workers with disabilities were as productive or more productive as those without disabilities and had fewer safety incidents. 

Myth #5: People with disabilities are harder to supervise.

Fact: Survey data shows that most managers see employees with disabilities as no different from their peers when it comes to job skills and workplace behavior. A Harris poll revealed the vast majority—over 80 percent—of managers rated employees with disabilities the same or higher when asked about acquiring new skills and adapting to new situations. 

Myth #6: People with disabilities are less reliable.

Fact: Many managers rate employees with disabilities as more dedicated and less likely to leave the job than their peers. Another study indicated that employees with disabilities had fewer scheduled absences than those without disabilities. This was true in all sectors. The study also found that retail workers with disabilities had fewer unscheduled absences than those without disabilities. 

Myth #7: People with disabilities can’t be fired.

Fact: This is one of many myths about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) guidelines state that employers can fire workers with disabilities under three conditions: 

  • The termination is not related to the disability, or 
  • The employee does not meet requirements for the job, such as performance or production standards, with or without a reasonable accommodation, or 
  • Because of the employee’s disability, he or she poses a direct threat to health or safety in the workplace. 

Myth #8: People with disabilities won’t help a company’s bottom line.

Fact: Companies that adopt best practices for hiring and supporting people with disabilities outperform their peers. A 2018 study by Accenture discovered that these companies achieved—on average—28 percent higher revenue, double the net income, and 30 percent higher economic profit margins. Use the Workplace Initiative’s Quick Start guide to help you develop a disability inclusion program that can give your company a competitive edge.

Now that we’ve helped bust some of these myths, are you ready to begin your disability inclusion journey? Or are you ready to convince your organization to do so? Get started

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