Employer acceptance of the Hansen's disease patient and other handicapped persons.
One hundred and four employers were interviewed in Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil, in order to compare their attitudes toward hirings the leprosy patient and persons with five other handicapping conditions (deep facial scars, the loss of two limbs, blindness, tuberculosis, and past psychiatric disorders). It was discovered that the noncontagious, nondeformed leprosy patient was the third best accepted of the six handicapped persons, slightly behind the job candidates with facial scars and tuberculosis. It was also found that 74% of the employers who were interviewed stated that they would either "probably" or "definitely" keep one of their workers if it were discovered that he had leprosy but was under treatment and represented no risk for other employees. A total of 82% said the same thing regarding a worker discovered to have tuberculosis. The single most cited reason by employers for having a negative attitude toward hiring handicapped candidates as a group was functional--the candidate would be "unable to do the job." The most cited justification for not hiring the leprosy patient was that "customers and other employees wouldn't like it." The author concludes that while there certainly exists employer prejudice towards the leprosy patient in the Bauru area, the study shows that this prejudice is neither unique nor insurmountable by any means. Later practical experience in rehabilitating and placing the leprosy patient in integrated jobs confirms this impression of the study. He urges that attention be given to creating many more integrated vocational rehabilitation opportunities for the Hansen's disease patient.