Bridging the Disability Gap

By Smith, S. L. | Occupational Hazards, December 1991 | Go to article overview

Bridging the Disability Gap


Smith, S. L., Occupational Hazards


"It has been called everything from "one of the greatest pieces of civil rights legislation ever enacted" to "a big can of worms." Like other major laws that change the rules of the workplace, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has angered some employers, frightened others, and, because of its complexity, confused nearly everyone.

Signed into law in July 1990 by President George Bush, ADA prohibits various forms of handicapped discrimination, including employment discrimination. ADA defines a person who is disabled as having: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or who is regarded as having such an impairment by others.

Safety and health professionals will play a key role in helping companies prepare for ADA. Employers with 25 or more employees must comply with ADA by July 26, 1992. Employers with 15 or more employees have a compliance date of July 26, 1994. Sweeping reforms affecting public accommodations, transportation, telecommunications, and state and local government operations go into effect next month. Detailed job descriptions, facility alterations, and safety and health exemptions to ADA will all require input from safety and health professionals.

"From an employer's point of view, this will be one of the most significant pieces of legislation they've ever seen," said Roger Jacobs, a Trenton, N.J., attorney specializing in labor-management relations. While he expects that large corporations will deal with the changes required by ADA on a regular basis, he said the act is flexible enough that it should not present the "serious problems" that many small businesses are dreading.

"What will be required of a company with 26 employees on July 26, 1992, is far different than a company with 26,000 employees," Rogers observed. He said both employers and the disabled community must approach the new law rationally and reasonably.

Defining the Rules

ADA prohibits discrimination in hiring against a "qualified" individual based on a disability. The determination of whether or not an individual is qualified requires two steps. First, the employer must determine if the individual satisfies the prerequisites for the job, such as possessing the appropriate educational background, experience, and skills. Then, the employer must determine if the individual can perform the primary job tasks of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.

ADA calls for employers to make -reasonable accommodationsfor employees with disabilities. These accommodations include changes to the physical layout of the plant, restructuring jobs, modifying work schedules, or assigning a reader to the blind.

The cost of those accommodations is determined by four variables: the expected proportion of employment opportunities to be gained by disabled workers; the number of employees covered; the average cost of the accommodation; and turnover rates.

"Compliance with ADA is going to take some modifications at most companies," whether in the physical plant itself or in company policies, predicts Thomas Schneid, an attorney and associate professor in the Department of Loss Prevention and Safety at Eastern Kentucky University. "The way we've done things in the past is not the way we can do things after ADA comes into effect."

Schneid recommended that employers begin planning for accommodations now. "This is one area which really involves safety personnel," he said. "They have to make sure that if a door cannot be made accessible, that it is not blocked, creating another safety hazard. Accommodations must not jeopardize safety and health."

What might be surprising to many employers is that a survey cited by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that 51 percent of accommodations could be made at no cost whatsoever to the employer. More than 60 percent of all accommodations could be made at a cost of $500 or less. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bridging the Disability Gap
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.