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ADA Compliance & Employer Attitudes



Dimmitt (1995) has noted that Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) has caused employers to scrutinize and revamp their hiring, human resource, and risk management practices. Five years after the ADA's enactment, trends are emerging about the people Title I is helping, what the law is costing employers, and how some companies are taking advantage. Many employers, according to Dimmitt (1995), feared the ADA would leave them swamped by job applications from disabled people, forcing them to make expensive changes in their workplaces. However, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities increased from 66% in 1986 to 68% in 1994; a fact that has led many critics of the ADA contend that the law is a failure.

The question that needs to be addressed here is what the existing literature indicates may be factors that contribute to employer compliance with the ADA or to their lack thereof. In this regard, Vandergoot (1993) notes that many times employers are reluctant to hire people with disabilities because of inadequacies in vocational preparation. Specifically, Vandergoot reports that the entire system of vocational rehabilitation services has an unclear mission regarding vocational education for the disabled as well as faulty assumptions about how to achieve the mission.

He recommends that the Rehabilitation Services Administration develop new policies and procedures for meeting the needs of people with disabilities.

A second reason why employer attitudes toward compliance may be negative is provided by Thompson and Dickey (1994) who in interviews with 245 disabled college students (i.e., learning disability, spinal cord injury, hearing/visual impairment, traumatic brain injury, progressive neuromuscular, psychiatric) found that students could not describe how the Americans With...

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