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Law Essay Example: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

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Vanderbilt University
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In 1990, The American congress passed an Act that recognized Americans living with disabilities. The law was called Americans with Disabilities Act abbreviated (ADA). It was a civil rights law that forbids discrimination as a result of disability. ADA offers similar cover and protection against prejudice to Americans with disability as the Civil rights Act (1964). ADA protects Americans with disability against unfair treatment based on their sex, religion, nationality and race. It also requires employees with disabilities to be provided with reasonable accommodation and lays down requirements of accessibility on public accommodation facilities. ADA was signed into law on 26th July, 1990 by the then American President George Bush. Further amendments were passed in 2008 and President Bush signed adopting the amendments to be effected from 1st January, 2009 (Agrawal, 2003)

ADA covered disabilities both mental and physical. These included deafness, intellectual disability and blindness, cancer ailment, diabetes, broken limbs requiring one to use a wheelchair and HIV infection among others.

ADA has several Titles that include employment that states that any covered entity should not discriminate any individual with disability from application, hiring, job training, employment privileges and promotions. Title two requires all public entities not to discriminate people with disability. Public entities must ensure access for all people with disability. Title three states that no individual should be discriminated against in terms of accessing and enjoying goods and services, facilities and public accommodation facilities in hotels, recreational facilities and public display places.The year 2008 saw ADA law amended. The amendment expanded coverage of people with disability. Major life activities were added into the act including but not limited to like sleeping, walking, lifting, bending and speaking. The amendment ensured that the aspect of coverage was broadened to cover more employees with impairments. The amendment was signed into law on 25th September, 2008 by President George Bush.

Case scenario lawsuit

Bikini Panama Hotel is located in Panama, Florida State of America. Its proprietor is John Gheesling. He was shocked to be sued for breaching the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). A visitor apparently found out that Bikini Panama Hotel lacked a lift at the pool. The hotel has one inside the hotel. The proprietor argues that no one requested for the wheelchair. Mr. Gheesling has already spent approximately $8,000 and the case seems far from over. The same client who has sued John has also other lawsuits with 50 businesses and 529 ADA cases in Florida. Having been signed into law in 1990, ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities whether employees or customers. All are equal to free and fair treatment and access to public facilities and services. In such cases if the plaintiff wins the case, then it is the duty of the defendant to pay the costs.

Impacts of ADA law on Employers and Employees

The Americans with Disability Act came into effect in 1992 and makes it illegal to discriminate a person on the basis of determining wages to pay, on hiring and firing, promotion as well as career progression. It is the duty of the employer to provide reasonable accommodation to all disabled employees like providing wheelchairs for ease of movement. The employers are also required to ensure availability of a ramp as opposed to staircases for easy use of a wheelchair in accommodation facilities they provide to employees with disabilities. A report by a committee appointed by the President found out that an employer paid an average of $930 per worker for accommodation since ADA law was implemented. ADA law also put more responsibility to the employers and failure to adhere resulted to severe punishment in a court of law. There was a committee formed called Equal Opportunity Employment Commission abbreviated EEOC to oversee the implementation of ADA act. The commission received many complaints ranging from discrimination, violations on hiring and wrongful termination. The employer was charged with the responsibility of paying settlements, administrative costs and legal charges. This prompted employers to think of litigation and a policy on Employer Liability was started (Francis 2015)

Research has shown that ADA act had no great impact on the wages of disabled workers and is approximately 40% lower than that of non-disabled workers. The rate of employment fell significantly after the enactment of ADA especially in mid-sized companies. The large companies can be able to take care of the compliance costs. The costs associated with ADA enforcement and implementation has led to the decline in the number of disabled who can access employment opportunities.

Another aspect affecting employees since the ADA law was enacted is the massive awareness creation especially on the significance and importance of work as well as ensuring that all employees are treated equally at work. Of concern is the worse conditions prevailing in the employment of people with disability. This is more pronounced by the large number of unemployed disabled bearing in mind that disability is the main cause of unemployment and poverty in America. The percentage of participation in labor has been increasing over time but participation for people with disability fell to an average of 4%. Again, the number of disabled people between the age of sixteen and sixty four was at its maximum. Indeed, a big percentage of those living with disability and disabled expressed great interest to formal employment given a chance.

ADA law since its enactment in 1990 had the sole intention of getting rid of discrimination based on disability. This law was welcomed by a big portion of the American population especially the disabled in that the law demonstrated compliance with respect and upholding the rights of people living with disabilities. This was not achieved in full as there has been a number of decisions from the Supreme Court weakening the law especially in narrowing down the interpretation of disability. This prompted further amendments in 2008 by the US Congress to strengthen and emphasize on the original ADA act. The law is further weakened by lack of a reporting authority by employers. This means that employers apply the law voluntarily as opposed to other civil laws which make compliance mandatory. Also, ADA law provides injunctive relief and court charges to successful petitions. Providing monetary fines to offenders only limits ADA law conformity by employers as many of them will just raise the money awarded as fine. Employers would be more compelled to follow the law if the consequences of breach were severe.

ADA law is a brilliant idea and I think more can be done to make it work fully. More affirmative action needs to be done advocating for the rights of people with disability and equal opportunity in accessing public and private institutions and facilities. Hefty fines to be imposed on those employers who violate ADA law.

In conclusion, The Americans with Disability law was formulated and passed into law to cater for the rights of people living with disabilities. The law has achieved much but still more needs to be done to make it more enforceable. This will involve creating a reporting authority for ADA laws as is the case with other civil laws. The meaning and interpretation of disability needs to be broadened to incorporate all forms of disability.

Works Cited

Agrawal, Sudhir K., and B. LeWark. "AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) BETWEEN CAR BARRIERS." 2003 Rail Transit Conference Proceedings. 2003.

Francis, Leslie, and Anita Silvers, eds. Americans with disabilities. Routledge, 2015.

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