Employer Practices Rehabilitation Research and Training Center


This project highlights the employer’s role in addressing the continuing problem of the employment disparities between Americans with and without disabilities.

Identifying barriers to improve the current situation and employer practices that advance the employment of people with disabilities is imperative and the aim of this project. The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employer Practices Related to the Employment Outcomes Among Individuals with Disabilities (EPRRTC) seeks to create new knowledge of specific employer practices most strongly associated with desired employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities and the prevalence of these practices.

Project Activities

  • Review of Employer Practices Literature: Literature related to research on employer best-practices supporting the hiring, retention, and promotion of people with disabilities. These articles study the demand (employer) side of the employment equation, focusing on the ways in which employer policies and practices affect the employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities.
  • Datasets: Browse across 11 major datasets for variables related to disability and health conditions, work and employer characteristics. The catalog provides variable names, survey questions, response categories and related variables that can be exported into an excel spreadsheet for your use.
  • EEOC Charges: Key findings to date in an examination of data on employment discrimination charges filed under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Trends and patterns in these data, such as charge filing rates and characteristics of employer receiving charges, are provided and the implications and the importance of employer practice in minimizing perceived disability workplace discrimination are discussed.
  • Compensation: In this study, several comprehensive national demographic surveys are linked by occupation to rich occupation-level data on benefits to construct a careful measure of total compensation. These are used to explore the pay gaps between workers with disabilities and their non-disabled peers. Considerable heterogeneity is found in these estimated gaps by measures of pay, definition of disability and data source used.
  • Health Benefits: Access to healthcare remains to be a critical element in the employment of persons with disabilities. Utilizing nationally existing restricted-access secondary datasets, we observed that access to employer-paid health insurance reduced job-mobility among employees with disabilities and led to longer work-tenure. This research demonstrates the value of offering health insurance in retaining qualified employees with disabilities. The findings of the Cornell research, in light of upcoming changes in health insurance policies as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, are discussed.
  • Skills: Research was conducted using the U.S. Department of Labor's O*NET to consider characteristics of jobs that are more likely associated with persons with disabilities and their non-disabled peers. Results illustrate and evaluate whether persons with disabilities are in different kinds of jobs and how 'in demand' specific job types are. In addition, whether persons with disabilities are over-or under-represented in the fastest growing jobs is discussed.
  • Aging: This project presents a survey, conducted in collaboration with the Disability Management Employers Coalition (DMEC), which examined leading practices for retaining an aging workforce from the perspective of over 800 disability management professionals.
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Survey: This project presents the findings and implications of data gathered from over 675 human resources professionals from the membership of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). This employer survey measured the level of implementation and effectiveness of a wide variety of disability-inclusive practices and policies and examined perceived barriers to the employment of persons with disabilities.
  • Conference Board Working Groups: Employers' perceptions are critical input to increasing understanding of how to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. A series of six focus groups of employer representatives from memberships of the Conference Board and the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies at Cornell University were conducted to identify key issues of concern, policies and practices seen as currently effective, emerging issues, as well as to seek input in shaping the Employer Practices RRTC research agenda, and review preliminary findings to inform subsequent analyses. Results highlights of these employer working groups are presented, and select employer representatives serving as discussants on this session's panel shared about the challenges and opportunities they face in working to recruit, retain and advance people with disabilities.
  • Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies Employer Working Groups: This project builds on previous project efforts to gain ”top of the house” strategic perspectives from corporate HR. With the 60 CAHRS member companies and access to top-level HR executives, this project aims to identify HR/employer metrics to assess employer practice and policy impacts.
  • Inside Workplaces: In contrast to the cross-organizational research design of our other projects, the purpose of this project was to conduct a case study of one federal and one private organization. Results to date highlight the employee’s view of three primary issues emerging across several other related Cornell research projects: 1) self-disclosure, both of one’s disability status and also of one’s need for an accommodation; 2) perceptions related to disability discrimination (including factors that impact their likelihood); and 3) employee and managerial perceptions of, and experiences with (where applicable), disability policies and practices within their organization.



Contact Information

Susanne Bruyère
Email: smb23@cornell.edu
Office Phone: 607-255-9536
Assistant Phone: 607-255-7727

Funding Agencies


Principal Investigator

Susanne Bruyère

Collaborating Partners

The Conference Board, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), Disability Management Employers Coalition, National Federation of Independent Business, U.S. Business Leadership Network, Council for Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation, Council for State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)