264052 Lessons from Research on Employer Attitudes & Strategies of Successful Employees with Disabilities

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Erica Jones, MPH , Pacific ADA Center, Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
Lita Jans, PhD , DBTAC - Pacific ADA Center, Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
H. Stephen Kaye, PhD , Institute for Health & Aging, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
A comparison of two research studies on employment of people with disabilities indicates the different views of employers and successful employees with disabilities. This presentation moves research to practice.

Two different kinds of research were conducted with two distinct groups. The first project surveyed employers regarding their attitudes about hiring and retaining people with disabilities. The second project collected strategies of successfully, competitively employed people with disabilities which focused on getting hired and succeeding at work.

The fears and concerns of employers that keep them from hiring, accommodating, and retaining people with disabilities are summarized. More than 80% of managers & HR staff at ADA-resistant employers state issues of: ignorance and sense of burden; concern over costs; and fear of legal liability.

This presentation also presents strategies of successful people with disabilities that proactively address the common employer fears and concerns. We found not all concerns can be addressed at the individual level by employees; some require systems change.

Successful employees educate themselves about accommodations to meet their own needs. They proactively research accommodation solutions. They reduce the employer's burden by engaging outside resources. A positive result includes employers not having to be disability experts. Successful employees with disabilities identify and request pragmatic solutions.

Separate studies of employer attitudes and strategies of successful employees with Disabilities found that: Successfully employed people with disabilities demonstrate techniques and attitudes that help allay common employer fears; are aware and proactively address employer worries; and service providers can assist by proactively communicating with employers.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the views of employers and successful employees with disabilities regarding employment. Compare the differences in employment perspectives among employers and people with disabilities. Identify commonalities in employment among employers and successful employees with disabilities.

Keywords: Disability, Equal Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Currently I am the Executive Director of the Center on Disability at the Public Health Institute (PHI) and the Principle Investigator of the Pacific ADA Center. Positions I have held include Principle Investigator on more than six five year projects; director of seven federal projects; and Executive Director of two non-profit agencies. I was a co-author on the research being presented, including three published papers. I have 30 years experience in the field of disability.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.