Category Archives: Americans With Disabilities Act

The ADA Amendments Act: Compliance Revisited

Source: Bob Austin, California Public Employee Relations Journal, no. 194, February 2009
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Until recently the California Fair Employment and Housing Act provided broader protection against disability discrimination than the Americans with Disability Act. Therefore the FEHA was the controlling edict in California. With the September 2008 signing of Senate Bill 3406, the ADA Amendments Act, the two acts are closer to parity. The amendments, which became effective on January 1, restore certain scope of coverage issues previously narrowed by the U.S. Supreme Court. And they liberalize implementation definitions and proscriptions consonant, but not altogether consistent, with current FEHA standards.

Disability Rights, Disability Discrimination, and Social Insurance

Source: Mark C. Weber, Georgia State Univeristy Law Review, Vol. 25, 2009

From the abstract:
This paper asks whether statutory social insurance programs, which provide contributory tax-based income support to people with disabilities, are compatible with the disability rights movement’s ideas. Central to the movement that led to the Americans with Disabilities Act is the insight that physical or mental conditions do not disable; barriers created by the environment or by social attitudes keep persons with physical or mental differences from participating in society as equals.

The conflict between the civil rights approach and insurance seems apparent. A person takes out insurance to deal with tragedy, such as premature death, or damage, such as accidental harm to an automobile or home. Social insurance, for example, the United States Social Security old-age and disability programs, consists of government-run insurance to cover risks of advanced age and disability for which the private market has not provided affordable coverage. But the civil rights approach to disability posits that disability is not a risk, not tragedy, and not a damage or defect. Instead it is a maladaptation of society to human variation.

This paper argues that a justification remains for social insurance under the civil rights approach to disability, and further suggests that expansion of social insurance for disability is both compatible with disability rights principles and supported by wise public policy.

Lashing Back at the ADA Backlash: How the Americans with Disabilities Act Benefits Americans without Disabilities

Source: Michelle A. Travis, Tennessee Law Review, Vol. 76, Winter 2009

From the abstract:
This Article applies Professor Derrick Bell’s interest convergence hypothesis to the disability context. By identifying how the ADA benefits nondisabled workers, this Article challenges the notion that advancing equality for individuals with disabilities necessarily comes at the expense of the nondisabled workforce.

Identifying these benefits requires looking not just at the ADA’s text and case law, but also at the workplace practices that the statute has required, inspired, or incentivized, which sociologists in the new institutionalism tradition have shown is crucial in assessing a law’s impact. In taking an institutional approach, this Article demonstrates the variety of ways in which the ADA aligns the interests of workers with and without disabilities, rather than pitting them against each other in a zero-sum game, thereby giving all workers a stake in the ADA’s future.

Proposed Changes To Americans With Disabilities Act Could Affect Local Governments

Source: American City and County, August 19, 2008

Some proposed changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) aimed directly at state and local governments and could amend the definitions of discrimination in the use of government services and facilities. However, according to the National Association of Counties (NACo), a Safe Harbor Provision would exempt public entities that had previously brought existing facilities into compliance with early ADA standards from having to further modify those facilities to comply with small changes to the standards.

Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans’ Disability Benefits in the 21st Century

Source: Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission, October 2007

From the press release:
The Commission’s report provides 113 recommendations that would help to ensure that the benefit fairly compensates the service-disabled veterans and their families, as well as help them live with dignity as they rehabilitate and reintegrate into civilian life.

The Future of Disability in America

Source: Marilyn J. Field and Alan M. Jette, Committee on Disability in America, Board on Health Sciences Policy, Institute of Medicine, 2007

From the summary:
The future of disability in America will depend on how well this country prepares for and manages the demographic, fiscal, and technological developments that will unfold during the next two to three decades.

Empowerment for Americans with Disabilities: Breaking Barriers to Careers and Full Employment

Source: National Council on Disability, October 1, 2007

From the press release:
The National Council on Disability (NCD) today, on the first day of National Disability Employment Awareness month, released a report that presents the best practices in the public and private sectors and the promising public policies and initiatives that increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The employment rate of working age people with disabilities remains only half that of people without disabilities (38 percent compared with 78 percent in 2005).

Empowerment for Americans with Disabilities: Breaking Barriers to Careers and Full Employment

Source: National Council on Disability, October 1, 2007

This report comprehensively reviews the issues integral to the employment of people with disabilities. It has two broad aims: a) to summarize the existing knowledge regarding the employment of people with disabilities in a series of short issue briefs and b) to present new information on the perspectives of employers, people with disabilities, and disability specialists on the key barriers to and facilitators of employment.

Accommodating People With Disabilities In Disasters: A Reference Guide To Federal Law

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Release Number: HQ-07-169, August 21, 2007

The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released a new reference guide that outlines existing legal requirements and standards relating to access for people with disabilities. A Reference Guide for Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Provision of Disaster Mass Care, Housing and Human Services is the first of a series of disability-related guidelines to be produced by FEMA for disaster preparedness and response planners and service providers at all levels.

“Federal law is very clear about accommodating people with disabilities in emergencies and disasters. Everyone involved in emergency management needs to understand and know what their responsibilities are in preparedness, response and recovery operations,” FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison said. “This Reference Guide is an important tool for emergency planners, responders and government agencies as they work toward meeting the needs of people affected by emergencies and disasters. FEMA is committed to ensuring that its programs and emergency operations meet the needs of people with disabilities.”

The Reference Guide summarizes equal access requirements for people with disabilities within Disaster Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services functions. The Guide explains how applicable Federal laws relate to government entities and non-government, private sector and religious organizations.

EEOC Releases Guidance on “Caregiver” Discrimination

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 24, no. 15, July 19, 2007

New guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) means employers must be extra cautious when it comes to employees with care giving responsibilities. While no federal law specifically bans discrimination against caregivers, the EEOC says Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) extend protections to individuals caring for children, parents and others.