muscles and broken bones; mental impairments, such as compulsive gambling, kleptomania, and pyromania.
In order to receive protection and assistance under the ADA, a person with a disability must: (1) provide notification and documentation of the disability to the service provider or employer, (2) offer documentation stating that he or she does not represent a direct health threat to self or others, and (3) demonstrate that he or she is "otherwise qualified" for the particular service. In the case of job applicancy or other employment/career opportunities, the worker must demonstrate that he or she is otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of a job with or without "reasonable accommodations."
Service providers and employers must be prepared to handle all information pertaining to disabilities with the utmost confidentiality. Much of the current and projected litigation against organizations covered by the ADA concerns the issues of confidentiality and rumor control.
In order to determine whether or not an individual is "otherwise qualified," employers must recast individual job descriptions to delineate essential functions from those tasks which are marginal to successful job performance. Service providers must be prepared to determine which clients or customers are otherwise qualified by developing detailed standards and decision rules.
Employers must be prepared to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals, which will be aided by recasting job descriptions. Both the legislative intent and the courts assess the "reasonableness" of accommodations on a case-by-case basis, noting that each organization is different and disabilities have a unique effect on each individual.
However, the ADA and EEOC offer some guidelines. In terms of access to public accommodations and services, examples of reasonable accommodations might include wheelchair ramps at entrances, wider aisles in restaurants, and hydraulic lifts on buses. Examples of reasonable accommodations at the workplace might include flextime, special assistants, and modification of workplace equipment.
Finally, it is the responsibility of service providers and employers to determine initially the balance between providing accommodations to those with disabilities and the potential adverse impact that such accommodations might have on the organization itself. Neither the laws nor the courts expect private businesses to fail because of the costly nature of specific accommodations rendered to workers or customers. The same is true for service providers and the public sector. They are not expected to have to reduce service delivery or to enter into reductions-in-force strategies as a result of providing accommodations to disabled employees or clients. These organizations are expected to demonstrate a clear level of "undue hardship" and, as with the issue of reasonable accommodation, this must be done on a case-by-case basis. Courts will take into consideration (1) the size and economic well-being of the organization, (2) the nature and cost of the requested accommodation, and (3) the potential impact that such accommodation will have on the well-being of the organization, its employees, and clients or customers.
Effective governmental responses to the needs of disabled individuals can be costly and, therefore, are not usually found in developing countries. The cost is not typically as substantial as feared initially by most organization managers. Indeed, the cost of compliance with the Vocational Rehabilitation Act and the ADA is typically outweighed by the benefits gained from incorporating members of this growing segment of society into organizational activities.
JAMES D. SLACK
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Chalk v. United States District Court, Central District of California, 840 F2d. 701 (9th Cir. 1988).
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Sarch, Anne Covey, 1994. "Solutions to an Employment Nightmare". New Jersey Law Journal (December 19).
School Board of Nassau County, Fla. v. Airline, 480 U.S. 273 ( 1987).
Slack, James D. 1995. "The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Workplace: Observations About Management's Responsibilities in AIDS-Related Situations". Public Administration Review (July-August).
Strama, Brenda T., ed. 1993. AIDS and Governmental Liability: State and Local Government Guide to Legislation, Legal Issues, and Liability. Chicago, IL: The American Bar Association.
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DISCRIMINATION, GENDER. Employment practices whether deliberate or unintentional which fail to treat men and women equally. Gender discrimination most usually has the effect of limiting employment and advancement opportunities for females.
In the United States, state protective laws were an early obstacle to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( EEOC) when it began to implement Title