Disabilities Don't Raise Insurance Costs

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A new survey of human resource managers has found that companies' health, life and disability insurance costs rarely rise because of hiring employees with disabilities, but that attitudinal stereotypes about people with disabilities are still pervasive in the workplace, causing them to be hired less and fired more than workers without disabilities.

The survey was conducted by Cornell University's Program on Employment and Disability and other research groups. Most HR professionals surveyed also reported that:

  • their companies now have disability management programs and that such programs really help the companies comply with ADA regulations;

  • the best way to combat attitudinal stereotypes toward workers with disabilities is through visible commitment to change by top management and through training;

  • it isn't difficult to adapt training and working materials to accommodate employees with disabilities;

  • a continuing barrier for employees with disabilities is supervisors' lack of knowledge about which workplace accommodations to make for those employees.

Other significant results:

  • In general, large and medium-sized organizations provided accommodations for employees with disabilities more often than smaller organizations did. Few companies overall -- less than 29 percent -- offered such staples as modified training and testing materials for people with disabilities, and only 34 percent changed supervisory methods to accommodate employees with disabilities. However, 80 percent of the HR managers' companies made changes to existing facilities and adopted more flexible HR policies to accommodate employees with disabilities.

  • Respondents reported being least familiar with how to accommodate applicants and employees with visual or auditory impairments. Almost half of the respondents were not familiar with teletypewriters -- TTYs -- or relay services; more than half were unfamiliar with ada

Contact: Linda Myers
Cornell University News Service

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