Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Employers routinely discriminate against stammerers

Date:
March 10, 2014
Source:
SAGE Publications
Summary:
Employers are routinely discriminating against people who stammer, rejecting them because of concerns about possible negative reactions from customers or team members, new research suggests. Two-thirds of the participants in this study who were successful in gaining employment believed they were appointed because "the nature of the job meant no-one else would stick it, which often indicated a lonely or repetitive job." As a result, the men often described their workplace experiences as "mindless" or "frustrating." Around one per cent of the population has a stammer, 80 per cent of those are men.

Employers are routinely discriminating against people who stammer, rejecting them because of concerns about possible negative reactions from customers or team members, new research suggests.

Related Articles


A study by Dr Clare Butler, of Newcastle University Business School, published in the journal Work, Employment and Society says that people who stammer experience widespread prejudice in the jobs market.

Thirty-six men from England and Wales, ranging in age from 21 to 65 years, were interviewed and all reported routine discrimination. Some had been immediately rejected at interviews because of their stammer and others could only find jobs where they were over-qualified.

Dr Butler said two-thirds of those who were successful in gaining employment believed they were appointed because "the nature of the job meant no-one else would stick it, which often indicated a lonely or repetitive job." As a result, the men often described their workplace experiences as "mindless" or "frustrating."

"Many participants were told not only of their mismatch for the specifics of the job or the likelihood of a detrimental impact on customers, but also of the possible negative impact on team dynamics if they were appointed," said Dr Butler.

One man in his 20s who applied for an administrative post described to her how his interviewer told him "to go and look for something more suitable. He said that office work was definitely not for me because I wouldn't be able to get on with people in the office because they work hard but they also have a laugh and I wouldn't be able to join in.

"He said I could do the job mostly. He said he'd have to warn the customers about me and that most would probably understand -- but he said I should look for something more suitable. When I asked 'like what?' he said outside work like gardening or something where I was on my own. I mean, can you imagine how I felt?"

Despite enduring frequent prejudice, none of those interviewed reported challenging their prospective or current employers. Dr Butler said: "This is in contrast to the movement for those with other impairments, such as dyslexia, where employees now expect, and employers are expected to make, adjustments to facilitate full access at work."

Even when they had found work they could face discrimination. A civil servant in his mid-40s reported that his manager asked him to stay away from key partnership meetings because his speech "upset the flow of the meeting."

The widespread discrimination was worsened by the changing nature of work. Dr Butler said: "More than 70 per cent of participants discussed the changing work context where they thought the roles that are, or would be, available to them are reducing. They referred to the lack of technical skills training, practical work, apprenticeships and the declining manufacturing industry. The growth of employment in service and retail has further decreased the career opportunities for people who stammer."

Reflecting on the current work climate, one man in his late 40s told her: "This voice is not what they [organisations] want."

However, this was not always the case, employers were supportive and responsive when "participants had an increased level of skill in an area where that skill was scarce or speech was not considered integral to the job requirements," said Dr Butler.

She said that many interviewees thought that their having a stammer meant they had become better listeners, and that was an important skill for the workplace. One man in his 40s told her: "Best bloody training ever for listening is having a stammer, as a kid what did we used to do but listen? I used to follow-up the meetings with emails sometimes to clarify questions that were asked in a quiet or an unspoken way and obviously missed by those trying to outsmart each other. I think every meeting should have a stammerer."

Around one per cent of the population has a stammer, 80 per cent of those are men.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Butler. Wanted - straight talkers: stammering and aesthetic labour. Work, Employment & Society, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0950017013501956

Cite This Page:

SAGE Publications. "Employers routinely discriminate against stammerers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310090925.htm>.
SAGE Publications. (2014, March 10). Employers routinely discriminate against stammerers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310090925.htm
SAGE Publications. "Employers routinely discriminate against stammerers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310090925.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Apple Ordered to Pay $533 Mln

Apple Ordered to Pay $533 Mln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) A Texas jury ruled that Apple&apos;s iTunes software infringed three patents. Apple says it&apos;ll appeal. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
GOP Voices Concern Over Net Neutrality Vote

GOP Voices Concern Over Net Neutrality Vote

AP (Feb. 25, 2015) The debate surrounding net neutrality was on full display at a congressional hearing Wednesday, a day before the FCC is set to vote on on whether to put Internet service in the same regulatory camp as telephone communications. (Feb. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins