Reflections from employers on the disabled workforce: Focus groups with healthcare, hospitality and retail administrators

Brigida Hernandez, Katherine E McDonald, Marielle Divilbiss, Elizabeth Horin, Jessica Velcoff, Oscar Donoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations


Historically, employment rates for people with disabilities have been low. Despite legislation that prohibits the discrimination of this group in work settings, employers are reluctant to hire people with disabilities. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of employers with workers with disabilities. Three focus groups were conducted with 21 administrators from three business sectors (i.e., healthcare, hospitality, and retail). Content analysis indicated five primary themes: (1) importance of disability employment agencies and disability advocates; (2) persistence of manager bias; (3) lack of promotion opportunities; (4) costs associated with having workers with disabilities; and (5) benefits associated with having workers with disabilities. Implications include the need for intervention studies that address the challenges experienced by individuals with disabilities, particularly during hiring and promoting phases of employment, and educational efforts to inform administrators and managers of the few costs and numerous benefits associated with having workers with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalEmployee Responsibilities and Rights Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Employer attitudes
  • Workers with disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics

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