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Disability Equality Index Shows Steady Growth of Inclusion

July 22, 2019

  • A total of 156 out of the 180 organizations included in the Disability Equality Index received top scores for their inclusion of people with disabilities. The index is a collaboration between the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN, a nonprofit organization focused on disability inclusion in business.
  • Eighty-four percent of businesses on the index had a written diversity and inclusion commitment statement that included disability, according to the report. Ninety percent of businesses had policies in place that require all leased and owned company facilities and locations be accessible and 93% had a senior executive that was either known as a person with a disability or an ally for individuals with a disability.
  • The list of companies in the index cuts across different industries and in all covers a workforce totaling 8,693,591 workers. People who identify as having a disability make up 3.7% of current workers and 3.2% of new hires. The majority of companies on the index scored above 80%, and 113 were Fortune 500 companies. Among the companies that scored 100% on the index were many household names, including in no particular order: Bank of America, Best Buy, Delta, General Motors, L'Oreal USA, Walmart, United Airlines, LinkedIn, Whirlpool, Cigna, Capital One, Google, Ford, Microsoft, and dozens of others.

Dive Insight:

The index shows steady growth in disability inclusion in all industries, though it notes some areas where companies could still improve.

In a statement, Ted Kennedy, Jr., disability rights attorney and AAPD board chair, said, "Companies that champion disability inclusion significantly outperform their peers across key financial indices including revenue, net income, profit margins and shareholder returns. AAPD is truly impressed by this year's DEI participation and we're proud to collaborate with the business community to prioritize industry-wide disability inclusion practices."

The index noted there are still areas where employers could improve, including how many ask candidates during the interview process if they need a reasonable accommodation (46%) and the number of businesses that review company-wide employee engagement surveys (if they do them) for specific takeaways from employees who identify as having a disability (36%).

In contrast to the index list of companies, 64% of employers in The Standard's Absence and Disability Readiness Index scored a C, D or F in disability practices and 56% earned a C, D or F grade in disability and absence management. These companies struggled with managing medical leave for workers with disabilities under the Family Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers must understand medical leave and disability laws, both on the federal and local levels, as they look to expand their talent pool to include candidates with disabilities.

Source: HR Dive