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Critique Of Ada And Affirmative Action

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Critique of ADA and Affirmative Action

April Phillips

University of Phoenix

Critique of ADA and Affirmative Action

For years, big companies have set rules for which employees had to follow in order to maintain their jobs. Discrimination for language barrier, race, color, age, disability and more was nothing easy to fight against; until The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) came into effect. Such an important law brought many changes in all direction of management, employees, hiring process, ergonomics, and new job opening as Human Resources Specialist. These changes are not only seen at the work place but at the educational level, as engineers learn to design a better and accessible working place for the disabled. This paper will discuss and critique The Americans with Disabilities Act and Affirmative Action based on readings and research. Personal views of ADA and Affirmative Action will be discussed along with the pros and cons of these programs that help Americans avoid discrimination through legislation. The issues of an agency offering accessibility to all clients will be discussed and the impacts it has on the company such as cost for remodeling, avoiding lawsuits, and enforcing regulations among employees.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The world's first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities was put into place to protect the people in this country who have physical and mental disabilities. The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment (EEOC, 2008). To protect human rights, ban segregation, and discrimination against those with disabilities, the act prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations. Because those with disabilities were still being discriminated against such as inaccessible building, transportation, and communication barriers, in February of 2001, President George W. Bush promoted the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of society by increasing access to assistive and universally designed technologies, expanding educational and employment opportunities, and promoting full access to community life. Because of the uniqueness of each individual, The Americans with Disabilities Act is updated or revised often to accommodate all who are connected to the services with the most recent changes in September of 2008 (EEOC, 2008).

With the Americans with Disabilities Act in place, provision of increased access to public areas, such as power doors, ramps and curb cuts, and paratransit are all options in cities with public transportation. Now that higher education institutions are opened up to persons with disabilities, the importance of a planned, coordinated response to the accessibility requirements of the law is a concern in maintaining accessibility while minimizing the cost of retrofitting existing resources. Although there are some universities who still evade compliance, the majority do provide the services needed for students with disabilities. Some other areas where the meaning of the law has not accomplished much good and may actually have hurt people with disabilities in general are special education classes. The ADA requires reasonable accommodation but the governing legislation is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law requires that children with disabilities be educated "in the most inclusive manner possible." This sounds good but in practice, it means little. With the financial crisis that the state is currently in, special education is not receiving the funding that is required to maintain and preserve the safety and welfare of the students in the special education program. Class sizes are moving from 12 to 18, assistance in the classroom is limited, putting everyone involved in the management of the class or students in jeopardy (EEOC, 2008).

Affirmative Action is very important for people with disabilities because

measures were established to fight racial discrimination, racial inequality, and injustice targeting certain populations. In 1961, President Kennedy issued an executive order stating that contractors doing business with the government will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during their employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. The order did not advocate preferential treatment of affected groups but rather sought to eliminate discrimination in the traditional sense. A subsequent order was followed by President Johnson in 1965 to mandate affirmative action goals to all federally funded programs and move monitoring and enforcement of affirmative action programs out of the White House and into the Labor Department (Kivel, 1996). The legal status of affirmative action was solidified by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark legislation prohibited discrimination in voting, public education and accommodations, and employment in firms with more than 15 employees. For example, most job opportunities are heard about through informal networks of friends, family and neighbors. Since the results of racism are segregated communities, schools and workplaces, this pattern leaves people of color out of the loop for many jobs, advancement opportunities, scholarships and training programs. Federal law now requires widespread and public advertisement of such opportunities so that not only people of color, but white women and men, who are outside the circles of information, have an equal opportunity to apply for these positions. Furthermore, it allowed the state and federal governments to favor women and minority owned businesses when awarding contracts, and to reject bids from businesses that do not make good faith efforts to include minority owned businesses among their subcontractors. The four-fifths rule was too a significant benchmark to determine unequal impact in firms contracting with the



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