Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Confusion Still Reigns over Disabilities Act

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Confusion Still Reigns over Disabilities Act

Article excerpt

Probably one of the most significant bills of this century went into effect on July 27, 1990, when former President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The ultimate goal of the ADA was to guarantee the nation's disabled communities the same equality, in every aspect of life, enjoyed by all other citizens _ regardless of sex, race, religion or national origin.

During the three years of its existence, the ADA has been the major focus of articles, discussions and seminars. Despite countless attempts to interpret and understand its rules and regulations, there still remains a tremendous amount of confusion about what is and what is not in accordance with the ADA mandates. Compliance in the workplace has been particularly frustrating.

One example on business and industry is the impact on hiring and re-hiring processes at all employment levels. Attention to the job description and hiring policies can significantly impact the cost of ADA compliance to a company. The generic job description has given way to a description which specifically details the essential functions of the job.

Further, many positions now require job specific testing _ often called pre-work functional capacity screening. In order to provide for measurements, the job description uses wording such as "should be able to" in place of "needs to have."

However, any data collected in a screening _ hearing test results or back injury assessments, for example _ unrelated to the specific job description cannot be used in making the hiring decisions. The same rules apply to the recovering alcoholic or drug user, although a company is not required to hire a job candidate who fails a drug testing.

Policies regarding the existing worker are also impacted by ADA.

Most of the current workers compensation lawsuits stem from this area of the workforce. …

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