Human Resource Management and the Americans with Disabilities Act

By John G. Veres III; Ronald R. Sims | Go to book overview

Introduction

John G. Veres III and Ronald R. Sims

Federal legislation and regulation have profoundly affected human resource management (HRM) in the United States. Human resource managers know too well the additional procedures performed and volume of paperwork generated in compliance with mandates on personnel practices. Changes in HRM brought on by regulation can be sweeping. A single judicial decision in the State of New York dramatically altered job analysis practice in the United States, when the court ruled that the method endorsed by the U.S. Civil Service Commission failed to meet the requirements set forth by federal guidelines for job analyses ( Veres, Lahey, and Buckly, 1987). Given the history of regulation, fears in the HRM community regarding the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) are hardly irrational.

Especially disconcerting is the scope of ADA. As chapter 1 will describe more fully, an individual with a disability is someone who (1) possesses a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is considered as having such an impairment. An informational bulletin circulated by a noted labor law partnership estimated that at least 900 disabilities affecting as much as 25 percent of the American labor force were covered by the act ( Paul, Hastings, Janofsky, and Walker, 1991). An even more alarming figure is the over 14,000 ADA-based complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the first fourteen months since ADA's employment provisions went into effect, over 1,600 in August 1993 alone ( Mastroianni, 1993). Clearly, HRM specialists will spend a significant portion of their time thinking about ADA in the coming years.

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