Sections Hiring

Best Practices: Hiring People with Disabilities

People with disabilities lack adequate access to healthcare, education and employment opportunities. Actors, producers and directors can use their talents through inclusion riders and other means to fight stigmas and advance opportunities. This is especially critical for the 22 million working-age Americans with disabilities, of which only one-in-three has a job.

(via RespectAbility)

a colorful Billboard saying There is no Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion without Disability

Inevitable Foundation's 2022 Campaign

How can I be more inclusive in my hiring process?

People with disabilities have a lot to bring to the table, but they might need accommodations to get to the table in the first place. Make sure that candidates are aware that you are willing to accommodate them. Schedule interviews at an accessible location and keep transportation in mind. The most important thing to do is to treat any candidate with a disability with the same respect you would treat any other candidate.


Non profit organization RespectAbility's logo that includes their slogan, Fighting Stigma, Advancing Opportunity

Where can I look to find examples of companies who are effective at including people with disabilities?

It is clear that hiring people with disabilities is not just the right thing to do; it also is good for a business’ bottom line. As more companies realize this truth, they are starting to take action. RespectAbility’s #RespectTheAbility campaign has featured employers all over the country who have seen the success of hiring talented candidates with disabilities. Companies featured include IBM, NBCUniversal, Freddie Mac, Booz Allen Hamilton and Microsoft. You can read more about these companies’ practices:

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Some Recommend First Steps:

Create a plan to both hire and retain employees with disabilities.

Being a truly inclusive employer of people with disabilities will not happen by accident; it must be an intentional decision and driven by a process. Your television shows and films will more accurately reflect your community if you include people with disabilities on your staff. Evaluations of human resources managers should include diversity, including the hiring of employees with disabilities, as a performance metric.

Use established resources to increase the qualified candidates with disabilities in your hiring pool.

Look at places like USBLN, National Organization on Disability and – all great resources on recruitment and hiring. ASKJAN can problem solve inclusive employment questions for free.

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An actor in a wheelchair on set
If you're going to bring on board people with lived experience of your film's subject, think about what the impact of working with you might be for them on a personal level. This applies to any marginalised community. For disabled people, confronting non-disabled people’s ableism and assumptions, even when in a positive and collaborative environment, can be very affecting. Offering mental health resources can turn a potentially painful process into a professional and supportive experience.
FWD Doc Toolkit
Two people conversing on set

Tips for increasing inclusivity among hard-of-hearing workers:

Add captions to video calls. This allows workers who are deaf to follow along with conversations.

Consider hiring interpreters to assist. Having someone available to interpret conversations or presentations can help fully integrate workers who are deaf into the workplace.

Speak directly to people without covering your mouth. This could prevent people who are deaf from reading lips.

Don’t disregard questions from deaf workers. Repeat what you said in a way that they can understand, speak clearly so they can read your lips and consider simplifying your vocabulary.

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