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Thread: Mandatory hiring of disabled workers

  1. #11
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    How many highly qualified,capable, hardworking, ambitious people with a disability have been passed over because employers just didn't want to deal with the possibility that hiring those people MIGHT have awkward consequences?

    Anti-discrimination laws force employers to think before passing over qualified people due to ignorance or false preconceived ideas about the abilities of people with handicaps. Some employers just don't like having people around who look different.
    Last edited by Foolish Old; 02-29-2012 at 03:25 PM.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    Probably around 8 out of 10.
    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish Old View Post
    How many highly qualified,capable, hardworking, ambitious people with a disability have been passed over because employers just didn't want to deal with the possibility that hiring those people MIGHT have awkward consequences?
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  3. #13
    Back in the 1970s after the Rehab Act of 1973 was passed, I became a hot commodity. The Act was a precursor to ADA that applied to the Federal government and recipients of federal support. It included non-discrimination and affirmitive action employment provisions. I was well known in the health care field. I began getting letters and phone calls from places I had been a consultant for, had visited, etc. I went for 3 interviews and had been offered high paying positions before I realized what was going on. These positions had high rank titles and salaries but the responsibilities were very limited. What they were looking for was a token disabled employee they could show off to the feds. It had nothing to do with the fact that I had helped them develop and launch their facility or program. To a capable guy, this was very demeaning. I stayed at my real job where I had to work like hell to meet the responsibilities that seemed to grow by the day. My abilities were recognized and I was treated accordingly. I would hate to bring back those days of hiring people in order to have names to put on a government report. No one benefits from being a token hire.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCIfor55yrs. View Post
    Back in the 1970s after the Rehab Act of 1973 was passed, I became a hot commodity. The Act was a precursor to ADA that applied to the Federal government and recipients of federal support. It included non-discrimination and affirmitive action employment provisions. I was well known in the health care field. I began getting letters and phone calls from places I had been a consultant for, had visited, etc. I went for 3 interviews and had been offered high paying positions before I realized what was going on. These positions had high rank titles and salaries but the responsibilities were very limited. What they were looking for was a token disabled employee they could show off to the feds. It had nothing to do with the fact that I had helped them develop and launch their facility or program. To a capable guy, this was very demeaning. I stayed at my real job where I had to work like hell to meet the responsibilities that seemed to grow by the day. My abilities were recognized and I was treated accordingly. I would hate to bring back those days of hiring people in order to have names to put on a government report. No one benefits from being a token hire.
    It's of even less benefit when capable people are passed over for no good reason. Anti-discrimination civil rights legislation has opened many doors for qualified, capable people of color, women and those with disabilities. I'd hate to go back to a time when discrimination kept them unemployed or barred them from advancement. The same lazy attitudes that caused some employers to hire "tokens" rather than recruit qualified people for real jobs is the reason that those employers formerly turned their backs on capable people for no good reason. Those early "tokens" acted as a conduit to recruit capable people who proved their worth despite their perceived differences from the majority work pool. Only the most prejudiced will continue to insist that all the people working today who would formerly have been passed over are hired as "tokens."

    I would hope that everyone who has a disability, or loves someone with a disability, would do everything in their power to increase the accessibility of every aspect of society. The right to be free from workplace discrimination is a fundemental civil right. No one is forced to hire a person with a disability. Employers do have a legal obligation to treat them fairly. The weakness of this legislation is too LITTLE enforcement, not too much enforcement.
    Last edited by Foolish Old; 02-29-2012 at 04:32 PM.
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  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by chick View Post
    Where does it say that potential hires need not be qualified nor be willing to do the job? Any employer with such irresponsible and thoughtless hiring practices is not likely to care about his company and probably won't be around long.
    I was shocked, while working for the 4th largest bank in the world, to be called in quarterly as a leadership team and handed out our individual hiring statistics. It read like a chart with how many of each "diverse" candidate that you have interviewed verses how many you hired. To spare you the long story, we were micro managed in our hiring efforts to "improve" our hiring if diverse candidates. No one would come right out and say "your not hiring enough asian males" or what not but we had to start getting approval for our hires and our list of "need to improve candidates" was considered in our approval for the hire. They called in an interview "debrief". I filled in for my boss while she was on maternity leave. During the upper management meeting that attended in regard to hiring a new supervisor it was strongly mentioned 3 times in one hour that we only have one African American supervisor. 4 out of 5 managers ran right out and started prepping African American candidates for an interview. It was an effort to meet a quota rather than an effort to hire the right person for the job regardless of race. Our recruiter who was in charge of the "list" filed a formal complaint and left the company because if the way it was handled. People were put in to sales positions because we didn't have enough female sales consultants, enough African American leaders, enough male customer service reps. We began shuffling people based on quotas rather than who was the best competitive advantage for the job. It was disappointing and created a retention issue that we generated another report for. People started disliking their jobs because it wasn't the right fit or they were not qualified. If we become a quota or target number then we are going to eventually just create another problem for employers. I want to be hired because I am qualified and stood out as a strong candidate, not because I was just an ok candidate but I fit in to a 7% hiring quota. I would rather see companies provide diversiting training that helps them see that we are not a race or a disability, but hard working and capable people.
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  6. #16

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  7. #17
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by offroaderswife View Post
    I was shocked, while working for the 4th largest bank in the world, to be called in quarterly as a leadership team and handed out our individual hiring statistics. It read like a chart with how many of each "diverse" candidate that you have interviewed verses how many you hired. To spare you the long story, we were micro managed in our hiring efforts to "improve" our hiring if diverse candidates. No one would come right out and say "your not hiring enough asian males" or what not but we had to start getting approval for our hires and our list of "need to improve candidates" was considered in our approval for the hire. They called in an interview "debrief". I filled in for my boss while she was on maternity leave. During the upper management meeting that attended in regard to hiring a new supervisor it was strongly mentioned 3 times in one hour that we only have one African American supervisor. 4 out of 5 managers ran right out and started prepping African American candidates for an interview. It was an effort to meet a quota rather than an effort to hire the right person for the job regardless of race. Our recruiter who was in charge of the "list" filed a formal complaint and left the company because if the way it was handled. People were put in to sales positions because we didn't have enough female sales consultants, enough African American leaders, enough male customer service reps. We began shuffling people based on quotas rather than who was the best competitive advantage for the job. It was disappointing and created a retention issue that we generated another report for. People started disliking their jobs because it wasn't the right fit or they were not qualified. If we become a quota or target number then we are going to eventually just create another problem for employers. I want to be hired because I am qualified and stood out as a strong candidate, not because I was just an ok candidate but I fit in to a 7% hiring quota. I would rather see companies provide diversiting training that helps them see that we are not a race or a disability, but hard working and capable people.
    What you describe is a failure to recruit and train qualified applicants. Again, the LAW doesn't require anyone to hire an unqualified applicant. Don't confuse corporate goals that may have other motivations (such as corporate image) with a legal obligation.
    Foolish

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  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by chick View Post
    Where does it say that potential hires need not be qualified nor be willing to do the job? Any employer with such irresponsible and thoughtless hiring practices is not likely to care about his company and probably won't be around long.
    So you're saying that the employers are just looking for the best person for the job. If so, why do we need this policy? Will requiring X number of people with disabilities suddenly make them much more aware of people's qualifications?
    I think any changes in hiring practices that come out of a policy like this are inevitably the result of the employer making hiring decisions based on WHAT someone is instead of who they are. If not, it wouldn't change anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by SCIfor55yrs. View Post
    I would hate to bring back those days of hiring people in order to have names to put on a government report. No one benefits from being a token hire.
    I agree. But perhaps I just don't feel inherently discriminated against (except by people who build stairs and narrow doors).

    When I was applying to professional school, I had the option of listing myself as "disadvantaged". The definition was open to wide interpretation, and I am sure no one would have questioned it if I put "yes" on my application. But I didn't, and don't particularly feel disadvantaged.

    As far as I can see it, the only change that being "disabled" or "disadvantaged" would make are at the margins. So you have someone who you don't want to hire. You don't think they are capable of doing the job, or you think someone else would be better at it, but because they fit a mandated or recommended "category" you do it to make your numbers look better.

    I don't want that job, and the way I look at it, if the school thought I couldn't hack it, and they only wanted me to boost the number of "disadvantaged" students they admitted, then I'm cool with that. They admit people for a living, they've got a much better idea than me if I can hack it or not. I guess they must have made their quota, because I got admitted despite not being "disadvantaged".

    From an economic perspective, you do not want this kind of hiring. The best person for the job should get it period. That is the most efficient way to do things. Otherwise you end up with people who are relatively less capable in jobs which do not suit them, and it ends up costing the economy as a whole.


    The only way a policy like this is effective is if there is significant discrimination against the group we are trying to employ. This was certainly the case in affirmative action in 1961 when around my neck of the woods, blacks couldn't sit in white theaters or drink from white water fountains, etc. In that case you could clearly say that in many cases, the best person for the job was being passed over because of his race. Even then, I think the benefits of that policy were much less than most people expected. I can't really see the same situation for people with disabilities. When was the last time they didn't let you into the movie theater or seat you (okay, let you in) at a restaurant?

    Do we really want to see 7% of construction workers building bridges and highways in wheelchairs?

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish Old View Post
    What you describe is a failure to recruit and train qualified applicants. Again, the LAW doesn't require anyone to hire an unqualified applicant. Don't confuse corporate goals that may have other motivations (such as corporate image) with a legal obligation.
    I don't think confusing legal obligations or corporate goals is really an issue. Regardless, I think most people would like to see the MOST QUALIFIED applicant get the jobs regardless of how they affect statistics.

    To me it doesn't matter if you're making stupid decisions because of a law or a suggestion or a policy or because the voices in your head tell you to do it. Regardless, it's bad for business, bad for the economy and ultimately bad for ALL of us.

  10. #20
    The problems of workplace discrimination and tokenism are complex. IMO hiring is a small part of the problem. There are many parallels with the struggle of female employees. Of those people with disabilities,few get promoted. Back in the old days, we called this the "chrome ceiling" which is analogous to the glass ceiling. Of course, this affects income levels as well. It is sad because as I found, the higher one gets up the career ladder, the physical demands of work diminish. In my administrative role I had a car and driver at my disposal, never touched a typewriter, could have lunch delivered to my office, could have an aide to travel with me, always flew first class, etc. The hours were long and the mental stress was there, but with the physical demands minimized they were manageable. Moreover, the high level salary frees you up from worrying what will be covered by insurance or how you are going to buy that next vehicle. For even most employed people with a disability, that kind of opportunity is close to fantasy. How do you eliminate that kind of discrimination? In the end, even when people are hired because of their entry level skills and do a great job, they remain little more than tokens.
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