October 8, 2012
Instructor: Sheri Meyer
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. Affirmative Action is a set of policies and initiatives created to eliminate discrimination based on color, religion, race, sex, and national origin. (National Organization for Women, 2009) This paper will discuss how Affirmative Action and the ADA are helpful in promoting a nonbiased society but will demonstrate the large gaps in both initiatives.
The ADA was designed to foster an environment that allows people with a disability to function, participate, and contribute to society, but the ADA contains several gaps. (American Disability Act, 2009) For example, older buildings may be grandfathered in, allowing society to ignore ADA compliance policies. Offering accessibility for clients is a large obstacle in New Hampshire for several nonprofit organizations. The older buildings limit clients, staff, and the effectiveness of RCA's services in the community. The ADA has had positive effects in communities but across the Nation states like NH, the ADA has failed miserably. When nonprofits can't provide services to one of the most vulnerable populations in society, it seems that the ADA works against people with disabilities not for them.
The ADA was designed to allow people with disabilities to contribute to society and one way of contributing is through employment. Employees are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities but the term reasonable is a vague term. An employer with less than 100 employees has even a less of an obligation to adhere to the ADA and is not required to adhere to the Family Medical Leave Act. If a person with a disability needs a significant amount of time-off and works for an employer with less than 100 employees, that person with the disability may lose his or her job (National Organization for Women, 2009).
Affirmative Action was designed to foster an environment where people would be treated equally and discrimination would be eliminated. "Affirmative Action is the bridge between changing the laws and changing the culture" (National Organization for Women, 2009). Women are allowed in the workplace, carry positions of high power, and the most amazing example of all is the citizens of the United States elected the first black President in history, but Affirmative Action still has a lot to be desired. Seventy percent of schools are not in compliance with Title IX, the federal equal education opportunity law. Women on average make 26 cents less than Caucasian male, African women make 37 cents less, and Latina women earn 43 cents less. With Affirmative Action in place Caucasian males still hold 95-97% of all corporate jobs. Those figures clearly demonstrate the need for further action and awareness of such disparities (National Organization for Women, 2009).