Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ADA Amendments, to Affect Employment Disability Guidelines

Last June 25, 2008, the U.S. Lower House of Congress has finally approved a bill, making an effort to alter some provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. In a landslide endorsement, the House has forwarded H.R. 3195 or ADA Amendments Act of 2008, to the Senate for consideration.

As stated in the proposed bill, various changes and reforms will be made in ADA as an alleged reaction of the Congress for the latter interpretation of the Supreme Court involving two renowned cases. Although the White House is predicted to veto this bill, no one may assure how the president will respond with this recently proposed law amendment.

Let me now discuss some of its provisions that might change how Californians view ADA, particularly the issues related to employment disability.

Ever since, California defines “disability” in a much broader sense than ADA does. In fact, the California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act has been offering several protections stated in H.R. 3195. Yet, the passage of this law might reveal the following effects:

• There will be an increase in number of employment disability cases filed in California

• Since the proposed amendment offers more protections, many employees would rather file their disability discrimination lawsuits under ADA provisions rather than using FEHA

• Disabled employees would have better chances for employment

• Companies in California would less bases not to hire or accommodate employees who have either mental or physical impairments

As we can see, the law greatly favored the labor sector. However, as I view it, this new bill will just enhance those laws that are already been set in place to protect the welfare of the disabled people. Further, this will not bring much effect on the employers but it will just give them additional reminders to increase employment opportunities for disabled yet qualified employees.