Why Do Disabled People Face Discrimination In The Workplace?

Earlier this month, the Disability Employment Subcommittee of the Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities convened earlier this month to discuss programs that expand employment options for disabled people.

Carl Richardson, a subcommittee member who is deafblind and serves as the Statehouse’s ADA coordinator, said his experience always landed him an interview when he was looking for. However, after the interview, things went south. He says that employers were focused on whether or not he’d be able to get to work every day.

Sadly, Richardson’s experience is not uncommon. Tom Murphy, supervising attorney at the Disability Law Center in Massachusetts, sees disability discrimination in the workplace occur all of the time. The majority of cases he handles involve psychiatric disabilities. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 62,000 discrimination complaints from April 2020 to December 2021. 66% of them were disability-related. Unsurprisingly, only 19.1% of disabled people in the U.S. were employed last year.

Rep. Mathew Muratore said financial incentives could encourage employers to become comfortable with disabled people. Tax credits for employers who hire more disabled employees have gained traction on Beacon Hill.

According to the Disability Employment Tax Credit, employers are eligible to claim a state tax credit of $5,000 or 30% of the wages paid to each qualified employee with a disability after a minimum of 12 months of continuous employment, whichever is less. However, businesses shouldn’t hire more disabled Massachusetts residents because of tax incentives or positive press coverage.

I wouldn’t want to work for an employer who treated me as if I were an inspiration. Most adults my age have had a paying job. I am no different than other 23-year-olds and want to work for a living.

I have lived in Massachusetts for 22 years. I have Cerebral Palsy, which limits my mobility. I’ve been looking for work since 2019. In three years, I’ve filled out hundreds of job applications. Unfortunately, I am still unemployed. Stop And Shop refused to hire me as a cashier because I couldn’t climb stairs. The manager of a local Texas Roadhouse rescinded my interview after I disclosed my disability. I can’t drive, which automatically disqualifies me from numerous jobs.

Many disabled people want to work. We might need help to do our jobs. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be a valuable employer. workplaces. Data shows that we are conscientious, creative, and dependable at work. We can be wonderful employees but employers won’t know that if they don’t hire us.


“All in: Easterseals Plan for Disability Equity.” Easterseals, Easterseals,

Mulvaney, Erin. “Thousands of Covid-Related EEOC Charges Cite Disability Bias.” Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg L.P., 10 Mar. 2022, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/thousands-of-covid-related-eeoc-charges-allege-disability-bias.

“Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary – 2021.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/disabl.nr0.htm.

Ruhalter, Kana. “’It’s Really across the Board’: People with Disabilities Face Employment Discrimination.” Fall River Herald News, GateHouse Media, 18 Dec. 2022, https://www.heraldnews.com/story/business/2022/12/18/people-with-disabilities-continue-to-face-employment-discrimination/69733814007/.

Roberts, Lily, et al. “Removing Obstacles for Disabled Workers Would Strengthen the U.S. Labor Market.” Center for American Progress, Center for American Progress, 23 May 2022, https://www.americanprogress.org/article/removing-obstacles-for-disabled-workers-would-strengthen-the-u-s-labor-market/.

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