New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that he has called on 49 of the largest U.S. companies, including Apple, McDonald’s, Nike and Twentieth Century Fox, to report on their inclusion of people with disabilities across the enterprise.
“We want the companies our pension fund invests in to be desirable places to work for everyone,” DiNapoli said. “Studies have shown that businesses that commit to disability inclusion outperform their peers. Companies should seize the opportunity to join the growing number of corporations that recognize the benefits of disability inclusion and are reporting their efforts.”
In his letter, DiNapoli urged the companies to register and participate in the Disability Equality Index (DEI), an initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN. The DEI addresses the lack of information and disclosure of corporate policies on disability inclusion by creating a benchmarking tool that allows companies to self-report their disability policies and practices. It can also identify areas where they can improve their policies and strengthen their reputations as inclusive companies and employers of choice. The deadline for participating in the 2019 DEI is January 31 and any inquiries can be sent to [email protected].
“Including people with disabilities in the workplace is not just the right thing to do – it’s also good business,” said AAPD Board Chair Ted Kennedy Jr. “Companies should be aware of the significant economic and shareholder benefits of hiring and promoting people with disabilities in the work force. Corporate participation in the DEI is a concrete step for executives to communicate to investors that they are serious about the issue.”
“It is crucial to have people with disabilities working as part of your talent pool to ensure your products and services work for everyone including more than one billion people with disabilities,” said Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft and Disability:IN Board Chair. “Our own inclusive hiring programs at Microsoft has brought untold benefits to Microsoft. We encourage every organization to focus on this space and leverage the Disability Equality Index in that learning journey.”
“We’re honored to be among the companies included in the 2018 DEI, and to be recognized for our efforts to support people with disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers,” said Voya Financial Chairman and CEO Rodney O. Martin, Jr. “We know that disability inclusion everywhere, including the workplace, is good for our customers, our employees and society. People with disabilities have a right to equal opportunities and they have a right to unlimited opportunities. Voya’s inclusion in DEI validates our efforts to make a real difference in the lives of our employees and customers living with disabilities.”
Research has shown that disability inclusion is a financial benefit. A recent report from Accenture, AAPD and Disability:IN, “Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage,” concluded that companies with best practices for employing and supporting people with disabilities in their workforce outperformed their peers. The report found that persons with disabilities remain woefully underrepresented in corporate America, representing 10.7 million potential skilled employees. Strong company policies are needed to ensure their workforce is inclusive of people with disabilities or risk missing out on an enormous pool of talented employees.
Samples of the letters DiNapoli sent are available at https://osc.state.ny.us/sites/default/files/other/documents/pdf/2019-04/disability-inclusion-sample-letters.pdf.