Hiring Decisions for Disabled Workers: The Hidden Bias

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Hiring recommendations involving disabled job applicants were explored. A group of 72 supervisors and midlevel managers reviewed the resumés of three applicants and two different job descriptions for a position being sought. Applicants' resumés varied only in disability status; one was described as nondisabled, one as paraplegic, and one as having a history of mental illness. Job descriptions varied only in the amount of social contact required by the position. The results demonstrated that subjects made different recommendations for hiring the paraplegic applicant than for hiring the applicant with a history of mental illness, even though no differences were perceived in the applicants' qualifications.

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