Disability in The Workplace
"The Americans With Disabilities Act is one of the most significant laws in American History. The preamble to the law states that it covers 43,000,000 Americans."(Frierson, p.3) Before the Americans With Disabilities Act(A.D.A.) was passed, employers were able to deny employment to a disabled worker, simply because he or she was disabled. With no other reason other than the persons physical disability were they turned away or released from a job. The Americans With Disabilities Act prevented this type of discrimination by establishing rules and regulations designed to protect persons with physical disabilities. With a workforce made up of 43,000,000 people, it is impossible to ignore the impact of these people. The Americans With Disabilities Act not only opened the door for millions of Americans to get back into the workplace, it is paving the road for new facilities in the workplace, new training programs and creating jobs designed for a disabled society.
I believe the Americans With Disabilities Act is the most important precedent set in the struggle against all discrimination for persons with disability. In this paper I will give a brief description of the statutes set by the Americans With Disabilities Act, pertaining to disabilities in the workplace. I will then discuss what employers are required to do according to the A.D.A. and some of the regulations they must abide by. The next section of this paper will discuss the actual training of employees with disabilities with a highlight on training programs for workers with mobility and motion disabilities. The following section of this paper will discuss the economic effects of a vocational rehabilitation program. Finally this paper will conclude with a brief discussion of what the measures set by the Americans With Disabilities Act means to the actual workers and people it benefits.
The Americans With Disabilities Act
The Americans With Disabilities Act has a section devoted to nothing but practices by employers regarding the treatment of applicants and on staff workers based on their physical condition or any health problems they may have. Some of the disabilities included are vision, hearing, motion, or mental impairments. "Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other terms and conditions of employment"(The Americans With Disabilities Act). According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, the only way an employer can refuse to hire an employee based upon a disability is if that persons disability imposes an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business. Then the question arises, what is considered an undue hardship? The Americans With Disabilities Act states that an undue hardship is any action that is considered to be in excessive cost to the employer, or if the reforms are too extensive, substantial, disruptive to the goings on of the company or anything that would substantially change the operation of the business.
In addition to this, the Americans With Disabilities Act provides some information on what employers cannot do. For instance the A.D.A. states that "employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability"(The Americans With Disabilities Act). This is a very important step in that it cancels out any possible internal prejudice the employer may have despite the regulations set by the A.D.A. For example if the employer has a pre-concieved notion of what he or she believes a disabled person can do, this rule will protect the applicant from such prejudice. Also, the employer cannot require an applicant take a medical examination before a job is offered. Furthermore, that a job can only be conditioned based on the results of a medical exam if those conditions...
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