Part 1: Understanding Disability
Many employers do not know where to begin when it comes to creating disability-inclusive workplaces. In order to implement the most inclusive hiring practices, the best place to start, is fully understanding what a disability is, what the landscape is like, and some facts that might not be known.
Disability 101: Back to Basics
What is a disability? According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an individual with a disability is defined “as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.” The ADA qualifies disability as a legal term, not a medical one, helping secure equal opportunities and civil rights for persons with disabilities.
You may not even realize that certain disabilities, limitations, or illnesses are actually disabilities that may need employer accommodation.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)/Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Auditory Processing Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Cognitive Impairment (Intellectual)
Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blind)
Deafness or Hard of Hearing
Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
Mental Health Impairments
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Sickle Cell Anemia
Spinal Cord Injuries
As you can see from the list we’ve provided, along with most recent statistics, 1 in 4 Americans have a disability. While many disabilities are visible, such as blindness or low vision, paralysis, or other physical disabilities, more than 70 percent of disabilities are non-apparent, such as cancer, autism, diabetes, PTSD, or depression. Additionally, more than 80 percent of disabilities are acquired throughout an individual’s lifetime. Examples include long-term injuries due to an accident, diagnosis of an illness, decreased vision, hearing, or mobility.
Disability & Employment
The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is almost twice that of individuals without disabilities, as 7.7 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed, compared to 3.7 percent of people without disabilities. This isn’t only about education levels either – persons with disabilities who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree are still three times less likely to be employed than those without a disability.
For an in-depth look at these topic areas, download our eBook, “Understanding the Candidate Experience for Job Seekers with Disabilities.”
For more resources and guidance on Understanding Disability, contact the Getting Hired team.