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Workers with disabilities face workplace discriminaton, too

Prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act, having a disability was challenging in the United States, including in Michigan. After all, public buildings were not accessible to those with disabilities, for example. Even though this has since been addressed, several hurdles still remain for those with disabilities -- specifically in the workplace.

Adults who have disabilities in the United states are confronted with many complex issues, including stigmas, higher poverty rates and usually lower rates of education. These issues only add to the challenges of finding jobs while having disabilities. Some economists have suggested that the Americans with Disabilities Act has actually made it even less likely for company owners to hire those with disabilities, due to the costs of providing them with accommodations.

In one study, researchers at Rutgers University sent out positon applications to over 6,000 fake accounting positions. About 66 percent of the applicants chose to disclose their particular disabilities -- for example Asperger's Syndrome or spinal cord injuries. Meanwhile, about 33 percent mentioned no disabilities. Although those with disabilities would not have interfered with the financial job and were otherwise qualified for the roles, those with disabilities ended up receiving 26 percent fewer employer responses.

In Michigan, workers with disabilities may unfortunately face discrimination, including the refusal of their employers to accommodate their particular needs. For instance, employees may not be provided with the specialized equipment they need, or their workstations may not be altered as needed. These individuals have the right to file workplace discrimination claims against their employers, with successfully fought claims potentially leading to the reinstatement of jobs or monetary relief, depending on the cases.

Source: cbsnews.com, "Americans with disabilities still can't land jobs", Aimee Picchi, July 26, 2017

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