Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

An Analysis of the Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Korean Government: A Comparative Study with the American Federal Government

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

An Analysis of the Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Korean Government: A Comparative Study with the American Federal Government

Article excerpt

This article examines the employment of people with disabilities in the Korean government and proposes possible reform measures for improving the employment of persons with disabilities. (1) A trend analysis is undertaken with respect to the levels of employment of persons with disabilities in the Korean government. In addition, the policies with respect to the employment of people with disabilities and the theoretical implications of the Korean government experience are presented. (2)

A comparative study of national approaches toward an issue allows the subject of the study to assess the situation more objectively and provides insights as to where the subject stands in a global perspective. In order to make this study more comparative, the case of the American federal government is briefly reviewed based on the annual report of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (3) The US EEOC monitors each agency's employment of persons with disabilities in terms of workforce distribution, grade level, placement, and advancement.

Various differences exist between both nations' governments in terms of legal obligations, internal working environment, and recruiting processes. One of the significant differences, for example, is composition of social demographics. American society is very heterogeneous so that sensitivity to social minorities is substantially high, while Korea is relatively homogenous so that diversity issues have not been seriously realized for a long time. Also, the civil rights movement has made a great social impact in the United States, while political demonstrations against authoritarian regimes have dominated modern Korean history doing relatively little for social minorities. Roughly speaking, Korea did not have a substantial disability policy until it achieved a significant degree of economic well-being and stability, while the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990 became the vantage point of business, government, and people with disabilities in the United States. (4) Considering such differences between the United States and Korea, it is fair to say that public policy for disability rights is less developed in Korea than in the United States.

The Employment of Persons with Disabilities: Comparison

This section deals with an analysis of the employment of people with disabilities in the American federal government and the Korean government. By analyzing the government employment data of both countries, this study discusses various public personnel issues in the employment of people with disabilities. An analysis of the American case would provide the prospective readers a comparative perspective to better understand the Korean case.

The Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the American Federal Government

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Public Law 101-336, is one of the most sweeping nondiscrimination pieces of legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (5) Signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, the ADA gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities similar to that provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, age and religion. It supports equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications. Employment discrimination is prohibited against "qualified individuals with disabilities." Section 3 of the ADA defines an "individual with a disability" as "a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment." This definition was based on the definition of "individuals with handicaps" that was used to identify persons protected by the nondiscrimination provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 706). …

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