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Home > Blog > Labor and Employment > Discrimination in Hiring Against Individuals With Disabilities

Discrimination in Hiring Against Individuals With Disabilities

Employment discrimination occurs for many different reasons, including race, gender, religion, and more. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate, harass, or retaliate against individuals due to a disability, and this includes during the hiring process.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2014 rate of unemployment for individuals with a disability was 12.5 percent, compared to the unemployment rate for individuals with no disabilities at 5.9 percent. The BLS determined that this unemployment rate discrepancy affected all age groups and levels of educational attainment. In addition, individuals with a disability were more likely to be self-employed or to only work part-time. These statistics are a major indicator that disability discrimination exists when employers are deciding who to hire.

Fake Cover Letters Expose Discrimination

In response to statistics over the past few years, researchers at Syracuse University and Rutgers University conducted a study to better determine the level of discrimination based on disabilities in the hiring process. In the past, studies regarding disability discrimination in hiring have not been extremely reliable, as job candidates may have had differences in qualifications that affected the results. Additionally, human resources employees who are interviewed for studies may simply tell researchers what they believe is politically correct and not what their true practice may be.

In the most recent study, however, researchers tried to eliminate both of these issues that may result in inaccuracies. Researchers sent out fake resumes and cover letters to gauge employers’ levels of interest regarding potential job candidates who disclosed a disability or who did not disclose a disability. By doing so, they could control the qualifications of the job candidates and avoid HR personnel from being aware there was a study and altering their answers.

Researchers created resumes for two different levels of experience – one candidate recently out of college and another with expertise in the field. They created three cover letters for each resume:

  • One disclosing Asperger’s syndrome;
  • One disclosing an injury to the spinal cord; and
  • One disclosing no disability.

The employers consistently showed more interest in the candidates without disabilities and, surprisingly, this occurred more frequently for the more experienced candidates. This means that many well-educated and highly qualified job candidates may be overlooked for jobs if they are open about the fact that they have a disability and may require certain accommodations. In addition, even if they are hired, they may receive different treatment as a result of their disability.

Contact An Experienced Employment Discrimination Attorney In Plantation, Florida Today

All forms of unlawful discrimination by employers are wrong and anyone whose rights have been violated at work or during the hiring process should discuss their legal options with an experienced employment lawyer as soon as possible. At the office of Robert S. Norell, P.A. in Plantation, we assist employees facing many different employment and wage law violations, so please call today at 954-617-6017 to learn how we can help you.

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