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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Essay on American with Disabilities Act

            The American with Disabilities Act was signed into law in May 1990.  It sought to guarantee equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.  It also sought to prohibit private employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in applications for jobs.  Employers cannot likewise use as basis a person’s disabilities in making decisions such as firing, compensation, promotion, job training and other privileges of employment. 

            The ADA defines a person with disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits his major activities or has a record of impairment or is regarded as having impairment.

            The situation of applicant C in Company X falls is similar to the case of Jose Zamora who was denied employment by Wal-Mart.  Jose Zamora is a wheelchair bound paraplegic who applied for a job with Wal-Mart for six (6) times between 1991 and 1993.  The store manager, however, informed Jose Zamora every time he applied for work that there was no job openings in any of Wal-Mart’s stores.  Based on the findings of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the reality was that there was that there was 133 job openings at the time of Jose Zamora’s applications.  He was qualified for 83 of these job openings.  For this reason, the federal jury required Wal-Mart to pay Jose Zamora with US$ 3.6 million.

            I agree with this decision.  The American with Disabilities Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against persons with disabilities.  They are prohibited from firing them or from refusing to hire them on account of their disabilities, especially when their disabilities have not relation to the nature of the job being performed.  Thus, an offer cannot ask whether an applicant for a job can perform certain functions when these functions are not related to the nature of the job being performed.  In this case, while Jose Zamora, or in your situation applicant C may have difficult in walking around the company premises, the same should not be a hindrance since there are other functions which do not require employees to go around the company premises.  

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            Because of the protection given by the American with Disabilities Act, business organizations have started to train their recruitment officers on the proper manner of handling job interviews.  According to Richard Stein (1993), “Clearly, the ADA legislation imposes an affirmative obligation upon employers to assist a disabled job applicant in achieving an employment opportunity. The breadth and expense of the obligation to provide a ‘reasonable accommodation’ must be carefully reviewed by employer.” To ensure compliance with this law, employers must act only questions which are relevant to the job and must refrain from asking questions such as whether a person has disabilities or impairment.  At present, business organizations have also adapted a more accommodating recruitment procedure, and the entire job application, interview and hiring are now protected against violations of the ADA.

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