Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Most Employers Worried about Effect of New Law

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Most Employers Worried about Effect of New Law

Article excerpt

Special to The Journal Record

WASHINGTON _ Threeurths of employers had "moderate to serious" concern about the possibility of lawsuits resulting from the Americans with Disabilities Act, in a survey conducted by the Bureau of National Affairs Inc.

Title I of the act becomes effective Sunday for employers of 25 or more workers. The survey was used in preparation of "BNA's Americans with Disabilities Act Manual." The bureau is a Washington, D.C., publisher of print and electronic news and information services, reporting on business and related issues.

The employment provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act forbids discriminatory hiring and personnel practices against qualified individuals, and requires employers to make "reasonable" efforts to accommodate individuals' mental or physical limitations, as long as it doesn't work an undue hardship on the employer.

In a telephone survey of 104 human resources managers across the nation, 69 percent are very familiar with the act. Some 76 percent said they are moderately or very concerned about potential litigation resulting from the new law.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has predicted that up to 15,000 charges of disability discrimination in employment will be filed between now and next July, the bureau said.

More than 75 percent of respondents to the survey expect their organizations to expend moderate to extensive effort on compliance with the act during the next 12 months, the bureau said. Many respondents said that varying court interpretations of the act may require them to take actions beyond those currently planned to achieve compliance.

Some 54 percent of survey respondents said they feel their organizations are "mostly" prepared to deal with the act's requirements, while 43 percent said they are "somewhat" prepared. Only 2 percent said their organizations are "not very" prepared to deal with requirements, the bureau said.

To date, 57 percent of employers surveyed have made "moderate efforts" to comply with the law, while 31 percent labeled their actions as "extensive" and 12 percent expended "minimal" efforts. …

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