Workers with disabilities are growing in numbers, but they face a staggering pay gap

Despite the average American worker seeing a wage increase of over 5% in the past year, workers with disabilities in the United States continue to face a significant pay gap. Recent data from Atticus reveals that employees with disabilities earn an average of 42% less than their counterparts without disabilities and are also 10% less likely to have received a pay raise in the last year. The average worker with a disability earns about $13,000 less than a worker without a disability, representing the largest pay gap in the past decade.

The issue becomes more pronounced considering the increasing employment of people with disabilities and the possibility of a rise in the number of workers self-identifying as having a disability. More individuals are becoming aware of the broad definition of disability under federal law, potentially leading to an increase in the share of workers identifying as having a disability. This suggests that workers should be aware of potential differences in compensation.

There are avenues for underpaid employees with disabilities to seek recourse, including addressing the issue with their manager or supervisor, understanding their protections under disability rights laws, and seeking support from advocacy groups or legal counsel.

Craig E. Leen, a legal expert, notes that the pay gap experienced by workers with disabilities, estimated at around 20-25%, is not a surprising figure and has been well-documented. He emphasizes the importance of utilizing the untapped skilled labor force of people with disabilities and underscores the need for companies to invest in supporting and accommodating disabled workers.  

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