Employees with disabilities: 5 Myths and Facts

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

The theme for 2017 is "Inclusion Drives Innovation."

Many Companies have already seen the benefit of hiring people with disabilities. This inclusion inspires innovation. 

AT&T is company where everyone’s differences are authentically embraced, valued and vital to our business inside and out. People with disabilities are no exception. I’ve seen this personally, because it’s part of my charge. Whether it is by ensuring an accessible environment so employees can win at work or offering the accessibility products and services to our customers, accessibility is our commitment to connect people to the world around them. In addition to our Corporate Accessibility Technology Office (CATO), our longstanding relationship with Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities helps us find and hire college graduates with disabilities. Finally, our Employee Resource Group IDEAL (Individuals with Disabilities Enabling Advocacy Link) is 4,300 members strong and plays a big role in ensuring we continue to stay ahead of the issues that this community faces.

-Cynthia Marshall, SVP Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer, AT&T

5 Myths about hiring people with disabilities



Hiring disabled workers increases workers compensation insurance rates.


Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident experience, not on whether an employer has hired workers with disabilities.




Providing accommodations for people with disabilities is expensive.


Did you know that for the minority of workers with disabilities who do need some sort of special equipment or accommodation, 56% of these cost less than $600, with many costing nothing at all? And available tax incentives make it even easier for businesses to cover accessibility costs. (JAN, the Job Accommodation Network, a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy)




The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) forces employers to hire unqualified individuals with disabilities.


Unqualified candidates are not protected under the ADA. To be protected from discrimination in hiring, an individual must first meet all requirements for a job and be able to perform its essential functions with or without reasonable accommodations.




Employees with disabilities have a higher absentee rate than employees without disabilities.


Studies by firms such as DuPont show that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities.




Under the ADA, an employer cannot fire an employee who has a disability.


Employers can fire workers with disabilities under three conditions:

  1. The termination is unrelated to the disability,
  2. The employee does not meet legitimate requirements for the job, such as performance or production standards, with or without a reasonable accommodation, or because of the employee’s disability
  3. He or she poses a direct threat to health or safety in the workplace.

(Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy)