Table of Contents
Obligation for Reasonable Accommodation
What Managers Can Do To Reduce Liability
Current and Future Trends in Reasonable Accommodation
Doors and halls not wide enough for wheel chairs to pass through, nonexistent wheelchair ramps, elevators without brail, classifying a job applicant as inferior because of their physical or mental disability, the examples are endless. An employer's obligation to accommodate employees with disabilities has been in debate long before The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. And those arguments vary; does the ADA place too much of a burden on corporations or employers to make reasonable accommodation for their employees, or on the contrary? Is the law working the way it was intended? Is the ADA and reasonable accommodation' making a difference? Hopefully this paper will shed some light on these questions. In examining reasonable accommodation, this paper will first discuss its foundation by briefly explaining what The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is. Next, the paper will further study the ADA subjects of disability, reasonable accommodation, and undue hardship. In these descriptions, the paper will examine both the ADA and recent court cases pertaining to those specific subjects. Third, the paper will talk about what companies fall under the umbrella of reasonable accommodation' and where burden or obligation to identify reasonable accommodation falls and if that burden may shift. Next, the paper will talk about what managers can do to limit their company's liability pertaining to reasonable accommodation. Lastly, the paper will state what defenses, under the ADA, exist for companies to use. The ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law July 26, 1990. It is designed to protect Americans with disabilities in areas of employment, public accommodation, transportation and telecommunications services. The act was adopted to "To establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability." Specifically, for this papers purpose we will concentrate on "civil right protections" to people with physical or mental disabilities in the workplace and those private businesses who accommodate to the public. Disability
In its definition of a disability, the ADA uses no specific terms. Generally, Title I of the ADA defines a disability as "(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment." With that understood, an example of this definition was applied in the case Sutton v. United Air Lines. In this case twin sisters sued United Air Lines under the Americans With Disability Act of 1990 because United Air Lines did not hire them as pilots because their vision was worse than 20/100. The two issues in question in this case were, under the ADA's definition of a disability, should a disability be determined without reference to its corrective measures that diminish the impairment, such as severe myopia (nearsightedness) in this case? Also, does the impairment of myopia significantly limit the Suttons in a major life activity? The court reasoned that "poor vision cannot be regarded as a substantially limiting impairment" because "determination of disability under the ADA should be made in reference to an individual's ability to mitigate his or her impairment through corrective measures." The court further reasoned that first, "substantially limits" pertains to the present not a hypothetical disability. Second, the ADA identifies individualized consideration for impairment. Third, when the act was written congress identified 43 million Americans were disabled, if they intended a disability to include...
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