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Despite employment laws designed to protect against discrimination, employers are still influenced by their biases. Apparently, even well-intentioned employers are biased against disabled persons.
According to a study by Rutgers and Syracuse Universities, disabled persons who reveal their disability in their letters and cover letters were about a quarter less likely to garner employee interest than those who did not.
In the Rutgers study, fake resumes and cover letters were sent on behalf of fictitious candidates for thousands of accounting positions. The only variation in each of the letters was a disclosure of a disability or not.
Interestingly, the experimenters concluded that the American with Disabilities Act appeared to dampen the effects of the discrimination.
In-house attorneys should probably not advise clients to fall over themselves to hire any disabled candidate. Rather, employers must simply re-examine the legitimacy of rejecting a disabled candidate, or a minority candidate, or any candidate who doesn't fit the HR manager's perfect image. Assess the right reasons for hiring or rejecting a candidate.
Nicole Fallon of Business News Daily composed a list of the biggest mistakes that employers make during the hiring process that are bound to increase the chance of hiring for the "wrong" reasons. In no particular order:
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