What ethical obligations should be considered if an organization discourages hiring people with disabilities?
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An organization has an ethical obligation to all of its stakeholders, including its employees, its shareholders, its clients or customers, and its community. So, at the very least, an organization has an ethical obligation to all of the above to hire the best possible person for whatever position is being filled. A policy of discouraging the hiring of the disabled implies that the best possible person might very well not be hired. Furthermore, obeying the law is an ethical obligation, and a policy like this is in direct contravention of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as in direct contravention of most state laws that protect against such employment practices. Another ethical dimension is that the company who does hire the disabled is providing role models for others who are disabled, allowing them to see that they can be useful members of society. Concomitantly, hiring a disabled person is of benefit to all of us because allowing a person to be self-sufficient means that person pays taxes, spends money, and has less or no need for the safety net we provide for those who cannot work.
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