Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Erickson, W.A., von Schrader, S., Bruyere, S.M., VanLooy, S. A. (2013). The employment environment: Employer perspectives, policies, and practices regarding employment of persons with disabilities. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 1-14.
Title:  The employment environment: Employer perspectives, policies, and practices regarding employment of persons with disabilities
Authors:  Erickson, W.A., von Schrader, S., Bruyere, S.M., VanLooy, S. A.
Year:  2013
Journal/Publication:  Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin
Publisher:  Hammill Institute on Disabilities
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Despite legislation, working aged people with disabilities face high rates of unemployment. Those who are employed experience less job security, lower rates of pay, disparities in benefits and more as compared to workers without disabilities. Previous research has emphasized the importance of organizational culture in overcoming barriers. In addition, is a body of work about promising practices related to diversity management. However, these are not evidenced based. It is important to try to discover what works in practice rather than theory.
Purpose:  This study focused on identifying barriers to workplace inclusion and employment disability nondiscrimination practices and policies. It also assessed an employer's collection of metrics related to employment processes.
Setting:  The survey was conducted in various businesses across the United States.
Study sample:  The sample included 675 private employers who were members of the Society of Human Resource Management.
Intervention:  There was no intervention. This is survey research.
Control or comparison condition:  There was not control or comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  An survey was developed. Items were selected based on information obtained from a review of the literature to identify disability related employer practices and existing surveys on the same topic that would serve as a comparison. The draft survey was reviewed by various sources including human resource professionals, pilot tested and revised. The final instrument included items across various employment processes. Respondents were asked what metrics were tracked and to assess obstacles to employment of individuals with disabilities within their organization. Information was also collected about organizational characteristics. Data was collected on line and by telephone. The questions used were identical and took 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Responses to the survey were aggregated as frequencies and means with statistical tests. Other tests (i.e. Fisher's exact, chi square, Bonferroni's adjustment etc...) were used as required.
Findings:  Results reported respondent characteristics, recruitment and hiring practices, disability related training for staff, accessibility and accommodation practices and policies, retention and advancement practices and policies, metrics tracked, perceived barriers to employment or advancement of people with disabilities, changes in perception of barriers and recruiting persons with disabilities. This offered a snapshot of the level of implementation of disability related policies and their perceived effectiveness.
Conclusions:  Knowledge of current employment practices that facilitate or hinder the employment of people with disabilities, can improve employment rates of individuals with disabilities.

Disabilities served:  Alcohol and drug abuse
Anxiety disorder
Autism / ASD
Cerebral palsy
Cerebral vascular accident (stroke)
Chemical sensitivity
Chronic mental illness
Chronic pain
Cognitive decline / dementia
Cognitive / intellectual impairment
Developmental disabilities
Down syndrome
Dual sensory impairment
Hearing impairment
Learning disabilities
Medical impairment
Mobility impairment
Multiple sclerosis
Muscular dystrophy
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Orthopedic impairments
Personality disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Speech or language impairment
Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Visual impairment
Severe physical disability
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male