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When Can a Disability Quota System Empower Disabled Individuals in the Workplace? The Case of France

Sarah Richard and Sophie Hennekam
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Sarah Richard: EM Strasbourg - Ecole de Management de Strasbourg
Sophie Hennekam: Audencia Business School

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Abstract: This study uses an empowerment theory perspective to examine how a disability quota system affects the decision to disclose one's disability at work. The study reports on 39 life story interviews with disabled individuals who recently entered or were seeking to enter the labour market in France. The study shows that when considering the disclosure decision, disabled workers reflect on personal attributes, such as their educational level, the visibility of their disability and whether they need workplace adaptations; on the organisational environment, such as the organisation's commitment to diversity; and on the legal context (underpinned by the biopsychosocial model), in this case, the quota system. These reflections determine whether the disabled workers perceive their disability status as a valuable attribute and whether legal disclosure can be empowering. This study proposes a nuanced perspective by highlighting both the system's potential for empowerment and for propagating inequality among disabled workers.

Date: 2020-11
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Published in Work, Employment and Society, SAGE Publications (UK and US), 2020, pp.095001702094667. ⟨10.1177/0950017020946672⟩

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DOI: 10.1177/0950017020946672

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