Anxiety about having to fire an underperforming employee with a disability is the number one reason employers shy away from such hires, a survey of Canadian employers finds.

In the survey of over 100 human resource executives from public, private and nonprofit organizations, the Toronto-based employment organization Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN) found that 36 percent of employers were hesitant to hire people with disabilities because “it’s harder to dismiss an underperforming person with a disability than one without a disability.”

Other reasons that employers cited for shying away from individuals with disabilities included the cost of hiring such employees, worries about higher rates of absenteeism and employer expectations that such hires would need more training.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

At the same time, employers reported that they believe people with disabilities bring a “fresh perspective” and are more loyal employees.

“We’ve learned that many employers recognize the value that people with disabilities can provide in a workplace. But outdated stigmas are still the number one barrier to jobs in Toronto,” said Susan Howatt, chairperson of JOIN.