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Fake Cover Letters Reveal Disability Discrimination in Hiring Process, Study Finds

Fake Cover Letters Reveal Disability Discrimination in Hiring Process, Study Finds

Disclosing a physical or mental disability in a cover letter can lead to disability discrimination in the hiring process, researchers from Syracuse and Rutgers universities have recently discovered.

In fact, according to these researchers’ findings, employers are about 25 percent less likely to express interest in job applicants who disclose disabilities in cover letters than applicants who don’t. And this discovery may be an important factor in explaining why disabled individuals are about 54 percent less likely to be employed than abled-bodied individuals.

Details of the Study

In evaluating how employers react to disabled job applicants, researchers developed thousands of fictitious résumés and cover letters. These fake résumés and letters were all focused on accounting positions, as researchers noted that the impairments selected would not affect applicants’ abilities to perform the accounting work/job.

Of these fake applications, half were for inexperienced, recent graduates while the other half were for experienced, qualified candidates. For each of these pools of applications, researchers created further distinctions, making:

  • 1/3 for applicants who disclosed no disability
  • 1/3 for applicants who had a spinal injury (e.g., a physical impairment)
  • 1/3 for applicants who had a mental impairment (e.g., Asperger’s syndrome).

Upon sending out these fake applications, researchers ended up finding that:

  • Applicants to disclosed either a physical or mental impairment in their application were less likely to be contacted by employers even when they were experienced and qualified for the position.
  • There was not a difference in interest when candidates had a physical versus a mental impairment. Instead, employers’ interest in these candidates seemed to decline as the candidates had more
  • Employers who are covered by federal anti-discrimination laws, as well as those who regularly bid on government contract, generally exhibited less discriminatory behaviors than employers not affected by these laws or contracts.

These findings led to the conclusion that:

The overall pattern of findings is consistent with the idea that disability discrimination continues to impede employment prospects of people with disabilities, and more attention needs to be paid to employer behavior and the demand side of the labor market for people with disabilities.

Contact a Los Angeles Discrimination Attorney at Moon and Yang Professional Corporation

If you have been discriminated against by an employer due to a disability (or another reason), you can turn to an experienced Los Angeles discrimination attorney at the Moon and Yang Professional Corporation for aggressive, effective legal advocacy in your pursuit of justice.

At Moon & Yang, our lawyers are trial attorneys with significant experience representing both individuals and businesses in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels.

To find out more about our services and how we can help you, contact us today by calling (213) 232-3128 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

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Categories: Disability Discrimination