U.S. Disability Employment Information and Job Resources
Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2019/01/08
Synopsis: Information about disability employment programs in the United States including services laws and benefits for disabled persons.
In the USA The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) seeks to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities by expanding access to training, education, employment supports, assistive technology, integrated employment, entrepreneurial development, and small-business opportunities.
The agency also builds partnerships with employers and state and local agencies to increase awareness of the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, and to facilitate the use of effective strategies.
The Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal contractors and subcontractors with government contracts in excess of $10,000, to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.
The OFCCP also enforces the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), which prohibits employment discrimination against certain categories of veterans by federal contractors. Some disabled veterans are covered under this law.
When employees are injured or disabled or become ill on the job, they may be entitled to medical and/or disability-related leave under two federal laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In addition, state Workers' Compensation laws have leave provisions that may apply. Depending on the situation, one or more of these laws can apply to the same employee.
Employment Rights of People with Specific Disabilities
Two people leaning over a desk shaking hands in agreement - Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued four revised documents on protection against disability discrimination, pursuant to the goal of the agency's Strategic Plan to provide up-to-date guidance on the requirements of anti-discrimination laws.
The documents address how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to applicants and employees with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities. These documents are available on the agency's website at "Disability Discrimination, The Question and Answer Series," www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm
In plain, easy-to-understand language, the revised documents reflect the changes to the definition of disability made by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) that make it easier to conclude that individuals with a wide range of impairments, including cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities, are protected by the ADA.
Each of the documents also answers questions about topics such as: when an employer may obtain medical information from applicants and employees; what types of reasonable accommodations individuals with these particular disabilities might need; how an employer should handle safety concerns; and what an employer should do to prevent and correct disability-based harassment. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov
Facts and Statistics on U.S. Disability Employment
- A U.S. survey of employers conducted in 2003 found that the cost of accommodations was only $500 or less; 73 per cent of employers reported that their employees did not require special facilities at all.
- Companies report that employees with disabilities have better retention rates, reducing the high cost of turnover, says a 2002 U.S. study. Other American surveys reveal that after one year of employment, the retention rate of persons with disabilities is 85 per cent.
- A 2004 United States survey found that only 35 per cent of working-age people with disabilities are in fact working, compared to 78 per cent of those without disabilities. Two-thirds of the unemployed, disabled respondents said they would like to work but could not find jobs.
- An estimated 386 million of the world's working-age people are disabled, says the International Labor Organization (ILO). Unemployment among the disabled is as high as 80 per cent in some countries. Often employers assume that persons with disabilities are unable to work.
- Thousands of people with disabilities have been successful as small business owners, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The 1990 national census revealed that people with disabilities have a higher rate of self-employment and small business experience (12.2 per cent) than people without disabilities (7.8 per cent).
- A 2003 study by Rutgers University found that people with physical and mental disabilities continue to be vastly underrepresented in the U.S. workplace. One-third of the employers surveyed said that people with disabilities cannot effectively perform the required job tasks. The second most common reason given for not hiring the disabled was the fear of costly special facilities
Sen. Edward Kennedy once wrote;
"...the high unemployment rate among people receiving federal disability benefits is not because their federal benefits programs have 'front doors that are too big - i.e., have eligibility criteria that are too loose - but because they have 'back doors that are too small' - i.e., once persons are on the rolls, it is too risky to come off."
Associated Sub-Topics and Pertinent Documents
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