The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 312-324

First online:

The Americans with disabilities act, mental disability, and employment practices

  • Teresa L. ScheidAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Email author 

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This research examines the response of employers to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with a specific focus on the employment of those with mental disabilities. A telephone survey was completed in a metropolitan area in the southern United States with a random sample of 117 businesses. In terms of specific practices that indicated compliance with the ADA, 15% had specific policies for hiring those with mental disabilities, and 37.6% had indeed hired such individuals. Companies that had complied with the ADA were more likely to be large and to have specific policies for the hiring of minorities and those with physical disabilities. Employers also did not believe that employment of those with mental disabilities was their responsibility, and supported increased efforts by the rehabilitation community to improve employment opportunities for individuals with mental disabilities. Mental health service providers need to work more closely with employers in their regions and educate them about the capabilities of individuals with mental disabilities, and inform employers that the types of accommodations necessary are neither costly nor difficult to implement.