Happy Birthday To You ADA!

07.30.15Baylee Olsen

Ah, the 1990s. A decade where Airwalks and feathered bangs ran supreme.

1990 kicked off this amazing decade as a time to break out “The Macarena” while fashionably wearing our fanny packs and overalls.

Twenty-five years have come and gone, and while most of the memories are sweet (or embarrassing), what do we have 25 years later that has stood the test of time?

On July 26, 1990, George W. Bush passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The overall purpose was to make American society more accessible to people with disabilities.  It has led to more accessibility while making it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in employment and housing.

While the employment provisions of the ADA apply to employers with 15 or more employees, its public accommodations provisions apply to all businesses, regardless of the number of employees.

The ADA prevents discrimination in hiring, promotions, training, terminations, wages, and all other conditions and privileges of employment.  For employers, it is illegal to ask a person about disability during the employment interview.

However, a candidate may choose to discuss a disability when asking for changes that will help in doing a job. This includes job restructuring and equipment modifications. If necessary, employers must make some changes to enable the qualified job applicant with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job.

Upon signing the Act in 1990 President Bush himself expressed concern:

“I know there may have been concerns that the ADA may be too vague or too costly, or may lead endlessly to litigation. But I want to reassure you right now that my administration and the United States Congress have carefully crafted this Act.”

Has the ADA been too vague or too costly as President Bush stated 25 years ago?

For some employers, yes, there has been an increase in operational compliance and accommodation costs.  However, it has helped all employers understand that people with disabilities represent a critical talent pool that should not be underutilized.

So, before we blow out the candles for the ADA’s 25th birthday, let’s make sure your organization is compliant.

Contact San Diego Human Resource Consultants at (760) 438-0846 or info@sdhrconsulting.com for more information.