Andrew Houtenville and Valentini Kalargyrou, both of University of New Hampshire, published “People with Disabilities: Employers’ Perspectives on Recruitment Practices, Strategies, and Challenges in Leisure and Hospitality” in February 2012 issue of Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To view the other articles in this issue, please click here.
A survey of employers at 320 hospitality companies in the United States found a set of similar concerns and challenges regarding employment of persons with disabilities, although several of these issues are the result of lack of employer education. While small and medium-size companies had somewhat different issues than large companies, all firms had several concerns in common, starting with the belief that those with disabilities could not do the work. Another top concern was the potential cost of unspecified accommodations under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, even though the record shows that most such accommodations are not exceptionally costly. Other potential concerns were the possibility that persons with disabilities would not have requisite skills or be as productive, and that supervisors would be uncomfortable supervising persons with disabilities and would not know how to discipline or evaluate them. Larger companies are more likely than small firms to actively recruit persons with disabilities, and those that do so are relatively less concerned about potential costs and the safety of those workers than those who do not. Among the policies that would encourage more hiring of workers with disabilities cited by the managers are employer tax credits and incentives, flexible work schedules, and disability awareness training. On balance, the survey indicates that greater knowledge about persons with disabilities would enhance their hiring prospects, particularly since those with disabilities constitute a loyal and stable pool of workers with a long record of satisfactory job performance.
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