By Peak, Martha H.
Management Review , Vol. 80, No. 7
ARE YOU READY FOR ADA?
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George Bush last summer, and when it goes into effect in July 1992, it will impact virtually every employer in America.
The ADA protects individuals who suffer any physical or mental disability that substantially limits major life activities. In addition to obvious physical impairments, the ADA covers persons suffering from AIDS and other contagious diseases, as long as they do not pose a direct threat to their coworkers, and it includes rehabilitated drug abusers and alcoholics. It also protects individuals whom the employer may perceive to be at high risk of incurring a work-related injury. Obese persons, or those with cosmetic disfigurements, also are covered by the Act.
The Act does not cover illegal drug use or psychotic disorders resulting from illegal drugs, homosexuality or sexually deviant disorders, or compulsive gambling, pyromania or kleptomania.
The Act does more than outlaw discrimination: It requires employers to step forward and make whatever "reasonable accommodations" are necessary for a worker who is known to be disabled but who is otherwise qualified to handle the "essential functions" of a job. …