ADA turns out to be reasonable

Friday, July 24, 2015

We remember hearing lots of talk about the difficulty of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act when it was first passed into law July 26, 1999.

It wasn't needed, it was more government intrusion and it would be a gold mine for lawyers, we were warned.

When we were covering public meetings back then, we heard about the difficulty and expense associated with bringing public buildings up to code.

Now, 25 years later, how has the ADA turned out?

The official opinion can be taken with a grain of salt, but according to the U.S. Department of Labor, many of the concerns about the ADA never materialized.

* Complying with the ADA isn't expensive, most workers don't need accommodations and for those who do, the cost is usually minimal -- 57 percent of them costing nothing.

* Most ADA employment-related disputes are resolved through information negotiation or mediation, offered and encouraged by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

* It is rarely misused. If an individual files a complaint under the ADA and does not have a condition that meets its definition of disability, the complaint is dismissed.

To be sure, most people didn't deliberately erect barriers to handicapped persons before the ADA became law, but it sets reasonable requirements for accommodations for a disability unless it causes an "undue hardship."

Talented, dedicated employees are needed to make any enterprise successful. Making sure those employees can contribute even though they may have certain limitation, serves everyone's best interest.

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