Workplace Attitudes toward Reasonable Accommodation & Disability

Perceptions of on-the-job discrimination and employees with disabilities

Balser, D. B. (2000). "Perceptions of on-the-job discrimination and employees with disabilities." Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 12(4): 179-197.

Examined factors that predicted perceptions of workplace discrimination by employees with disabilities. Individual level variables (education, race/ethnic origin, tenure, union membership) were combined with organizational level variables (disability-related organization, grievance procedures, accommodation procedure) in a single model of perceived inequality. Data came from surveys administered to employees with disabilities and their respective employers. Responses were analyzed for 524 employees (mean age 44.1 yrs) and 119 employers. Results show that these employees experienced discrimination over most terms/conditions of employment.

Employing persons with a developmental disability: Effects of previous experience

Blessing, L. A., & Jamieson, J. (1999). "Employing persons with a developmental disability: Effects of previous experience." Canadian Journal of Rehabilitation, 12(4): 211-221.

Studied the effects of prior experience on employer attitudes and hiring decisions regarding people with developmental disabilities. In Canada, 20 employers who previously had hired or trained a person with a developmental disability were compared with 18 employers without such experience. Most Ss had personal interviews, and they completed (1) a modified version of the Attitudes Toward the Employability of Persons with Severe Handicaps Scale (L. P. Schmelkin and D. E. Berkell, 1989) and (2) 82 items on factors affecting hiring decisions. Both groups expressed favorable attitudes towards the employability of developmentally disabled workers, with experienced Ss perceiving more advantages than disadvantages of this employment. Inexperienced Ss rated negative worker characteristics as a stronger impediment to hiring than did experienced Ss. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

Drivers of workplace discrimination against people with disabilities: The utility of attribution theory

Chan, F., McMahon, B. T., Cheing, G., Rosenthal, D. A., & Bezyak, J. (2005). "Drivers of workplace discrimination against people with disabilities: The utility of attribution theory." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 25(1): 77-88.

The purpose of this paper was to determine what drives workplace discrimination against people with disabilities. These findings are then compared to available literature on attribution theory, which concerns itself with public perceptions of the controllability and stability of various impairments. The sample included 35,763 allegations of discrimination filed by people with disabilities under the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Group A included impairments deemed by Corrigan et al. [1988] to be uncontrollable but stable: visual impairment (representing 13% of the total allegations in this study), cancer (12%), cardiovascular disease (19%), and spinal cord injuries (5%). The controllable but unstable impairments in group B included depression (38%), schizophrenia (2%), alcohol and other drug abuse (4%), and HIV/AIDS (7%). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had resolved all allegations in terms of merit Resolutions (a positive finding of discrimination) and Resolutions without merit. Allegations of workplace discrimination were found to center mainly on hiring, discharge, harassment, and reasonable accommodation issues. Perceived workplace discrimination (as measured by allegations filed with EEOC) does occur at higher levels in Group B, especially when serious issues involving discharge and disability harassment are involved. With the glaring exception of HIV/AIDS, however, actual discrimination (as measured by EEOC merit Resolutions) occurs at higher levels for Group A.

Coworker distributive fairness judgments of the workplace accommodation of employees with disabilities

Colella, A. (2001). "Coworker distributive fairness judgments of the workplace accommodation of employees with disabilities." Academy of Management Review, 26(1): 100-116.

The author presents a model of when and how coworkers judge the distributive fairness of workplace accommodations of employees with disabilities. Fairness judgments are made when accommodations are salient and relevant to coworkers. The author thus presents factors influencing the salience and relevance of accommodation. She also argues that fairness judgments are based on equity and need rules and therefore explores factors influencing equity comparisons and perceived warrantedness. Finally, the author suggests directions and ideas for future research.

Factors affecting coworkers' procedural justice inferences of the workplace accommodations of employees with disabilities

Colella, A., Paetzold, R. L., & Belliveau, M. A. (2004). "Factors affecting coworkers' procedural justice inferences of the workplace accommodations of employees with disabilities." Personnel Psychology, 57(1): 1-23.

We examine coworkers' procedural justice inferences about the accommodation of another employee when they believe it is for disability-related reasons. Legal constraints that prevent the release of information about the accommodation process may lead to negative inferences about fairness. However, we argue that other factors can help to make inferences about procedural justice more positive. We present a model of the process through which coworkers engage in making inferences about the procedural justice of accommodating a coworker with a disability and the individual and organizational level factors likely to influence those inferences. Consequently, we present propositions to be studied in future empirical research and suggestions to managers who desire to reduce negative coworker reactions to accommodating individuals with disabilities.

Employer concerns about hiring persons with psychiatric disability: Results of the employer attitude questionnaire

Diksa, E., & Rogers, E. S. (1996). "Employer concerns about hiring persons with psychiatric disability: Results of the employer attitude questionnaire." Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 40(1): 31-44.

Assessed 373 employers' attitudes toward hiring persons with psychiatric disability. Ss were interviewed by telephone, using the Employer Attitude Questionnaire, to assess their concerns in 4 major areas: symptomatology, work personality, work performance, and administrative concerns. Results suggest that employers differ in their level of concern by industry type. Overall, 3 of the 4 subscales (symptomatology, administrative concerns, and work performance) differed significantly. Employers with a history of hiring people with disabilities had lower levels of concern on work performance and administrative concern subscales. Employers with an existing policy toward hiring people with disabilities had lower levels of concern across all subscales.

Identification of the characteristics of work environments and employers open to hiring and accommodating people with disabilities

Gilbride, D. G., Stensrud, R., Vandergoot, D., & Golden, K. (2003)."Identification of the characteristics of work environments and employers open to hiring and accommodating people with disabilities." Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 46(3): 130-139.

This study determined the characteristics of employers who are open to hiring and supporting people with disabilities. The purpose was to help rehabilitation professionals better target their placement and educational activities. Using a grounded theory qualitative approach, the researchers conducted focus groups and interviews with employers, employed persons with disabilities, and experienced rehabilitation placement professionals. The results indicated that 13 specific characteristics, organized into three major categories, are found among employers who are open to hiring and accommodating persons with disabilities. The three major categories were work cultural issues, job match, and employer experience and support.

Accommodation in the workplace: An application of procedural justice theory

Greene, J. K. (2002). "Accommodation in the workplace: An application of procedural justice theory." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 63(3-B): 1596.

This study assessed coworker reactions to accommodation in the workplace as stipulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and addressed if providing information and justification proactively would generate more positive perceptions. Level of information, either none, basic information, or basic information with justification, was expected to interact with the level of accommodation, either strong (staying home two days per week and telecommuting) or weak (leaving 45 minutes early two days per week), in predicting fairness perceptions of the organization and of general accommodation. Results showed no significant interaction but did indicate a main effect for level of the accommodation with the stronger accommodation perceived as fairer. Adequacy of the information significantly correlated with fairness perceptions of the organization. Organizational citizenship behaviors and spillover effects concerning the likelihood to accept other influence regarding organizational fairness were positively correlated with fairness perceptions of the organization. Findings suggest several implications important to organizations interested in increasing efforts toward more successful implementation of accommodation in the workplace.

The social construction of disability in organizations: Why employers resist reasonable accommodation

Harlan, S. L., & Robert, P. M. (1998). "The social construction of disability in organizations: Why employers resist reasonable accommodation." Work and Occupations: An International Sociological Journal, 25(4): 397-435.

Reasonable accommodation, a provision of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, directs employers to alter the workplace so that qualified workers with disabilities have equal employment opportunity. Data on employees' requests for and employers' responses to reasonable accommodation, reported by 50 people (aged less than 29 to 60 yrs and older) with disabilities, demonstrate that employers are reluctant to modify the social structure of work because of their perceived need to contain the costs of reform and maintain control of the work process. Employers often discourage employees with disabilities from making requests for accommodation, and they deny 1 of every 3 requests. The authors show how organizations devalue the work of people with disabilities, and identify an array of resistance strategies employers use to preserve hierarchy and authority in organizations. A list of accommodations requested by persons interviewed, including the outcome of the requests, is appended.

Employer attitudes toward workers with disabilities and their ADA employment rights: A literature review

Hernandez, B. (2000). "Employer attitudes toward workers with disabilities and their ADA employment rights: A literature review." Journal of Rehabilitation, 66(4): 4-16.

This review of 37 studies found that employers continue to express positive global attitudes toward workers with disabilities. However, they tend to be more negative when specific attitudes toward these workers are assessed. Although employers are supportive of the ADA as a whole, the employment provisions evoke concern. When appropriate supports are provided, employers express positive attitudes toward workers with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities. Affirming earlier reviews, employers with prior positive contact hold favorable attitudes toward workers with disabilities. Employers' expressed willingness to hire applicants with disabilities still exceeds their actual hiring, although this gap is narrowing. Workers with physical disabilities continue to be viewed more positively than workers with intellectual or psychiatric disabilities.

Integrating managerial cognitions: Disability, diversity, and the ADA

Hosford, V. L. (1999). "Integrating managerial cognitions: Disability, diversity, and the ADA." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 59(8-A): 3199.

Purpose. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between perceived employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and managers' mental models, as impacted by managers' discomfort with disability, knowledge of diversity management, and of the ADA. Conceptual framework. Utilizing the conceptual components of mental modeling and integrating the sociological and psychological elements of cognition and perception, diversity management is defined. Organizational values, understanding of diversity management, and the practices and employment outcomes resulting from that understanding form the mental models. Conceptual discontinuities are coalesced and those most closely aligned with the consequences of mental models and decision-making are utilized. Emphasis on the integrative tenets of Follett and Golembiewski underscores the conceptual framework. Methodology. This exploratory study used descriptive research methodology. Six critical components were identified and analyzed as determinants of managers' perceptions. Through a questionnaire and internationally validated attitudinal survey, public, quasi-public, and non-profit mid-level managers were queried as to their knowledge of the ADA, knowledge of diversity management concepts, and level of discomfort with individuals with disabilities. From a population of 309 managers, descriptive and inferential statistics were calculated from the surveys and questionnaires completed by the 253 respondents. Findings. ADA knowledge, diversity management knowledge, and level of discomfort with individuals with disabilities were identified. Disability was not perceived as included in diversity management, and only accommodation was perceived as the focus of the ADA. Training did not correlate with knowledge, and prior contact was only moderately correlated with level of discomfort. Conclusions and recommendations. Exclusionary perceptions of diversity management clearly emerge from the data, as does the perception of disability as separate from diversity issues. Both these conditions present compelling indications of the need to discontinue fragmented approaches to diversity management, training, and theoretical analysis. Results also indicate that organizations are not preparing managers and supervisors for the responsibility of inclusive diversity management and ADA decision-making, nor requiring such preparation from them. Given rapidly increasing workforce diversity, and the employment and civil rights strengths of the ADA, it is important for researchers and theorists to provide managers with an inclusive knowledge foundation.

Employers' attitudes to employment of people with epilepsy: Still the same old story?

Jacoby, A., Gorry, J., & Baker, G. A. (2005). "Employers' attitudes to employment of people with epilepsy: Still the same old story?" Epilespsia (Series 4), 46(12): 1978-1987.

Purpose: One area of life quality known to be compromised by having epilepsy is employment, and one factor contributing to the employment problems of people with epilepsy (PWE) is employer attitudes. Much research on this topic is now outdated and given the changing legal, medical, and social contexts in which PWE live, we therefore reexamined employer attitudes in the United Kingdom. Method: A mail survey of a random sample of U.K. companies selected to be representative of the 14 U.K. economic regions and proportional to the number of employees. Findings: The overall response rate was 41% (n = 204). Twenty-six percent of respondents reported having experience of employing PWE. Sixteen percent considered that there were no jobs in their company suitable for PWE; 21% thought employing PWE would be "a major issue." Employers were uniformly of the view that PWE, even when in remission, should disclose their condition to a prospective employer.

Legal requirements and employer responses to accommodating employees with disabilities

Lee, B. A. (1996). "Legal requirements and employer responses to accommodating employees with disabilities." Human Resource Management Review, 6(4): 231-251.

This article focuses upon the legal requirements for accommodating individuals with disabilities in the workplace and the perceptions of employers regarding barriers to accommodation. After a brief analysis of how federal courts have interpreted the ADA's accommodation requirements, the literature on accommodation is reviewed and a theoretical framework for examining employers' attitudes toward accommodation is proposed. The article then tests the framework using the results of a study of 500 New Jersey employers which elicited their experiences with and attitudes toward the accommodation of disabled workers. Suggestions for further research are provided.

Perceived employment barriers and their relation to workforce-entry intent among people with HIV/AID

Martin, D. J., Brooks, R. A., Ortiz, D. J., & Veniegas, R. C. (2003). "Perceived employment barriers and their relation to workforce-entry intent among people with HIV/AIDS." Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 8(3): 181-194.

As treatments have improved health and quality of life for people with HIV/AIDS, many have contemplated workforce reentry. Workforce reentry rarely occurs among people with illness-related disability. The authors mailed a survey that included workforce-entry-related concerns to 1,991 HIV/AIDS clients. Factor analysis extracted 6 areas of concern (benefits loss, work-related health, job skills, discrimination, personal health care, workplace accommodation). Levels of concern generally increased with HIV acuity level and time since last worked. Work-related health concerns predicted consideration of workforce entry, and work-related health concerns and benefits-loss concerns predicted estimated time to return to work. Findings provide quantitative validation of intuitive categories of workforce-entry concerns among people with HIV/AIDS and suggest that concerns may shift with progress toward workforce entry. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

Employer and counselor perceptions of workplace accommodations for persons with traumatic brain injury

Michaels, C. A., & Risucci, D. A. (1993). "Employer and counselor perceptions of workplace accommodations for persons with traumatic brain injury." Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 24(1): 38-46.

Compared 85 employers' and 85 vocational rehabilitation counselors' (VRCs') perceptions about the feasibility of and obstacles presented by specific workplace accommodations that potentially present undue hardships. Lack of willingness to make accommodations was addressed in terms of 3 of the most common reasons offered by employers. These were that the accommodations were (1) not fair to co-workers, (2) too time consuming, and (3) too costly. Scenarios were developed to directly gather information on potential limitations within the 7 capacity areas including mobility, communication, self-care, and work skills. While VRCs' views were similar to those of employers, VRCs tended to rate accommodations as more problematic than did employers. VRCs tended to view functional limitations within the individual as most problematic, while employers viewed limitations in actual job performance as most problematic. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

The effects of attribution of responsibility and work history on perceptions of reasonable accommodations

Mitchell, T. L., & Kovera, M. B. (2006). "The effects of attribution of responsibility and work history on perceptions of reasonable accommodations." Law and Human Behavior, 30(6), 733-748.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must provide employees with disabilities reasonable accommodations that will enable them to perform job duties, as long as the accommodations do not financially burden the organization. Two studies were conducted to investigate whether disability origin and/or prior work history impermissibly influence the granting of reasonable accommodations under the ADA. In both studies, participants granted more accommodations for employees whose disability was caused by some external factor than for those whose disability was caused by the employee's own behavior. In Study Two, participants also granted more and costlier accommodations for an employee with an excellent work history than for an employee with an average work history. Implications of the use of extralegal factors in accommodation decisions are discussed.

Deaf adults tell their stories: Perspectives on barriers to job advancement and on-the-job accommodations

Mowry, R. L. and Anderson, G. B. (1993). "Deaf adults tell their stories: Perspectives on barriers to job advancement and on-the-job accommodations." Volta Review, 95(4): 367-377.

40 24-57 yr olds who are deaf participated in direct, in-depth interviews concerning perceptions about job advancement and on-the job accommodations. 22 Ss were employed and 18 were unemployed at the time of the interview. Analyses suggested that characteristics of the worker and the work setting were factors that contributed to or impeded job advancement opportunities. Ss who sought to obtain advancement were assertive in efforts to obtain training and seek out promotion opportunities. Ss not actively seeking often perceived their deafness as restricting or limiting opportunities for advancement. In general, employers were not perceived as accommodating to the worker who is deaf. Most accommodations related to spoken rather than written language communication. Sample responses and recommendations for employers and employees are included. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

The assessment of attitudes toward individuals with disabilities in the workplace

Popovich, P. M., Scherbaum, C. A., Scherbaum, K. L., & Polinko, N. (2003). "The assessment of attitudes toward individuals with disabilities in the workplace." Journal of Psychology, 137(2): 163-177.

The authors conducted 2 studies to develop and test measures that assess beliefs about what constitutes a disability, affective reactions to working with individuals with disabilities, and beliefs about the reasonableness of workplace accommodations, in general and within the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The results of these 2 studies showed substantial differences in what was considered to be a disability. In general, more physical and sensory-motor conditions were considered disabilities than were psychological conditions. Furthermore, the conditions believed to be disabilities did not necessarily match what is covered by the ADA. Gender and experience with individuals who are disabled were also found to predict affective reactions and the reasonableness of accommodations. Implications for organizations are discussed.

The meaning of workplace discrimination for women with disabilities

Randolph, D. S. (2005). "The meaning of workplace discrimination for women with disabilities." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 24(4): 369-380.

Studies have found that persons with disabilities who are also members of other minority groups or women encounter dual discrimination. This paper describes how women with disabilities who are in the workplace experience discrimination. In order to determine whether discrimination was a viable issue, theoretical contexts of feminist theory, disability theory, and attribution theory were examined as well as literature examining employment of women with disabilities. For this study, three women with various disabilities were interviewed regarding the effect of their disability on their typical workday, their employment and job seeking history, and employment opportunities. Qualitative data were also provided through mapping by the participants and pictorial data of worksites. Data were grouped into themes of pre-conceived notions of others, attitudes of others, accommodation issues, inclusion issues and exploitation issues. From these themes, definitions of discrimination and nondiscrimination in the workplace were developed. Conclusions include the need for more research on workplace experiences of other or more specific populations that experience discrimination as well as the need for ethical reflection on the part of the researcher regarding vulnerable populations.

Employer opinions about accommodating employees with chronic illnesses

Roessler, R. T., & Sumner, G. (1997). "Employer opinions about accommodating employees with chronic illnesses." Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 28(3): 29-34.

Examined employers' (1) opinions regarding accommodating people with chronic illnesses in the workplace; (2) experiences with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and (3) concerns related with working with employees with chronic illnesses. Representing larger corporations in manufacturing, financial services, and retailing, 83 business personnel responded to a survey addressing chronic illness and job accommodation. Ss reported that their companies had reviewed their job descriptions and developed written accommodation policies following passage of the ADA. Favorably disposed toward a variety of accommodations, Ss expressed concerns about the costs of accommodations and whether accommodations interfered with typical work schedules. Complimentary of employees with chronic illnesses, the Ss voiced some concerns about productivity-related issues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

Employment of individuals with mental disabilities: Business response to the ADA's challenge

Scheid, T. L. (1999). "Employment of individuals with mental disabilities: Business response to the ADA's challenge." Behavioral Science & the Law, 17(1): 73-91.

This research examines the response of the business community to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with specific focus on the employment of those with mental disabilities. The ADA is viewed as an important rational myth in that it represents both a legal and normative demand with which businesses are expected to comply. Yet employers' responses will be influenced by their attitudes toward persons with mental disabilities as well as their concern with legal sanction for discriminatory behaviors. A telephone survey was completed in a southern metropolitan area with a random sample of 117 businesses in order to access the knowledge employers have about the ADA (and its inclusion of those with mental disabilities), the compliance with the ADA, the employment practices, and the role played by stigma in the employment of individuals with mental disabilities. In terms of specific practices which indicated compliance with the ADA, a little over one-third of the companies which were surveyed by telephone had a Title 1 implementation plan, 15% had specific policies for hiring those with mental disabilities, and 37.6% had indeed hired such an individual. The role of coercive and normative rationales for compliance to the ADA was examined. It was found that receiving formal information about the ADA, threat of legal sanction, and previous employment of those with mental disabilities were all significant predictors of compliance with the ADA. Stigmatizing attitudes did not predict compliance, though employers did view those with mental disabilities with more discomfort than other types of employees. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Employers' knowledge and utilization of accommodations

Unger, D., & Kregel, J. (2003). "Employers' knowledge and utilization of accommodations." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 21(1): 5-15.

Increasingly, employers are providing a variety of accommodations to applicants or employees with disabilities. However, little is know about the resources that employers access to identify and develop accommodations in the recruitment, hiring and retention of employees with disabilities. Human resource professionals and supervisors were surveyed to determine the extent to which businesses were aware of, and utilized, the vast array of workplace supports available. Findings indicated that employers have limited awareness of workplace supports and rely primarily on their own organizational resources in identifying and securing accommodations. Yet, business professionals expressed confidence in their ability to meet and support the needs of employees with disabilities despite many supervisors indicating that they did not have the authority to secure accommodations for workers with disabilities.

Perceived need for workplace accommodation and labor-force participation in Canadian adults with activity limitations

Wang, P. P., Badley, E. M., & Gignac, M. A. (2004). "Perceived need for workplace accommodation and labor-force participation in Canadian adults with activity limitations." American Journal of Public Health, 94(9): 1515-1518.

We examined how perceived need for workplace accommodation affects labor-force participation in people with disabilities. We analyzed a Canadian survey with structural equation modeling to test a model incorporating activity limitations and perceived need for workplace accommodations. The results suggested that the effect of upper- and lower-body activity limitation on labor-force participation was mediated by perceived need for workplace accommodations. Thus, the provision of adequate workplace accommodations could enhance labor-force participation in people with disabilities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)