Skip to comments.Are you able to obey this law?(ADA)
Posted on 06/07/2006 5:24:38 AM PDT by devane617
By John Stossel
Jun 7, 2006
Some shortsighted employers don't give jobs to people with disabilities, even when the disabled could do the work. Politicians thought the way to stop this discrimination was to make it illegal. That's what politicians tend to do. But in the real world, even Congress can't wish problems away. Their well-intended solutions create nasty unintended consequences. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is proving to be yet another sad example.
Consider what an employer has to do to try to obey the ADA. Even the job interview is a minefield. Julie Janofsky, a labor lawyer, patiently explained to me that it is forbidden even to ask certain disability-related questions. If an applicant comes to my office with his arm in a sling, I can't ask whether he's disabled. It would be "discriminatory."
I can't ask about past drug addiction -- or even about current addiction, if the drugs are legal. "You can't ask me if I'm addicted to Valium," said Janofsky, "because if I'm addicted to Valium now, I'm protected under the ADA."
How are employers supposed to understand this? I confronted Gilbert Casellas, head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President Clinton. He said the ADA is a wonderful law, and had the nerve to say it isn't complicated. "None of this stuff is rocket science," he said.
So I asked him about Janofsky's example: If you come to me applying for a job, and your arm is in a sling, can I ask you why your arm is in a sling?
"You can ask -- you know what? I'm going to ask you to stop the tape, because we're getting into -- "
I was incredulous. "You want to check?"
The head of the EEOC had just said the law wasn't complicated, and every employer in America is supposed to obey it, but he had to consult one of his experts.
They discussed the issue for about five minutes, and then Casellas indicated he was ready to resume. So I asked again, and this time he had an answer: "You can ask me whether I can do the job."
"You say the interview rules are simple," I said. "[Yet] you run the EEOC [and] you don't even understand them well enough. You have to stop and ask your assistant!"
"Well, because you asked me a specific question. . . ."
That's the point! Every employer is in a specific situation, and lawyers are ready to pounce if they don't do everything according to the law. And the laws are now so complex, it's impossible to obey all of them. Exxon gave Joseph Hazelwood a job after he completed alcohol rehab; when Hazelwood then let the Exxon Valdez run aground, a jury found that he'd recklessly gotten drunk before taking command--and that the company had been reckless to give him the job. So then the company decided people who've had a drug or drinking problem may not hold safety-sensitive jobs. The result? You guessed it -- employees with a history of alcohol abuse sued under the ADA, demanding their right to hold safety-sensitive jobs. Employers can't win. They get sued if they do, sued if they don't.
What would the head of the EEOC say about that? Amazingly, he said, "That's an easy case." He claimed Exxon "illegally discriminated."
So Exxon should not have to pay billions of dollars for the Valdez spill?
Casellas answered, "Well, you know, that's another issue."
Not his problem.
Complicated laws like the ADA eventually hurt the people they were meant to help. The ADA has led many employers to avoid the disabled. One poll found that since the ADA was passed, the percentage of disabled men who were employed dropped. "Once you hire them, you can never fire them. They are lawsuit bombs," one employer said. "So we just tell them the job has been filled."
This unintended consequence of the ADA shouldn't have been a surprise. If you give some workers extra power to sue, those workers become potential "bombs," and some employers avoid them.
Politicians bragged that the ADA "fixed the discrimination problem." But what really happened is that lawyers got richer, and the disabled got fewer opportunities.
My kids get darn tired of hearing me caution them to "beware of unintended consequences" - Oh, how I wish some of the lawmakers had that drilled into them, and maybe tattooed on their hands...
Once laws start trying to make stupidity mandatory, forget whatever they were trying to accomplish in the first place.
"Once you hire them, you can never fire them. They are lawsuit bombs,"
This also sounds like federal government employees
It was a very bad law from the get-go.
ADA is a nightmare and it is getting worse. More old and fat people are getting hauled around by scooters so access is becoming more of a problem. We are doubling and tripling the number of people needing access.
When asked during his campaign for president what he considered his greatest achievement in congress, Bob Dole cited getting the ADA passed.
i thought the ADA specifically exempted substance abuse from protection. when did this change?
First, I love your handle. I've had that little pun rolling round in my head for a few years now. Second, how long will it be before high school coaches will be barred from kicking smokers and drug users off their teams? After all, they have an "addiction," a "disability."
Well, that's what government is for.
1) They are created to carry out vague, often well-intentioned projects;
2) They are populated by grifters, incompetents, and careerists;
3) They protect incompetence by encouraging anonymity and dilution of blame;
4) If they are accountable at all, it is usually only to another bureaucracy, which is usually as incompetent as they are;
5) They end up existing to serve themselves, not the purpose to which they were intended.
Bureaucracy in government is the greatest peril to liberty this country faces.
MORE MOONBAT JUSTICE....
(ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY ANDREW MC CARTHY>>>
NRO the CORNER BLOG)
.....Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Jackpot Justice in Oakland [Andy McCarthy]
You can bet our troops are not the only ones who will have to endure hours of sensitivity training. A state jury in Alameda County has awarded $61 MILLION in damages to two Americans of Lebanese descent (Edgar Rizkallah and Kamil Issa) after they won their harassment suit against FedEx.
The plaintiffs were FedEx drivers who were called "terrorists," "camel jockeys," and worse by their manager, one Stacey Shoun. Somehow the jury decided this was worth not only $11 million in compensatory damages for the plaintiffs' "emotional distress," but an additional $50 million in punitive damages because Fed Ex and Shoun had acted with "oppression and malice."
What did FedEx do to rate this whopping penalty? Not only did it fail to take adequate corrective action after the drivers complained; the company is also reported to have "failed to provide managers with anti-discrimination training." Without such training, you see, human beings with an IQ of 11 or above would have no idea that it's inappropriate to call someone a "camel jockey" in the workplace.
This is what rule-by-lawyers gets you. "FedEx," of course, will not pay a penny of this award (if it holds up on appeal, which, in California, it probably will). All of us who use FedEx (which is pretty much all of us) will have our pockets picked. Does that make ANY sense? And, while not arguing in favor of asinine boorishness, I must say, if Rizkallah and Issa were truly "emotionally distressed" over this, they would not have lasted long in The Bronx.
Beam me up, Scotty.
It'd do no good to have it tatooed on their hands, they'd never see it with their hands in our pockets all the damn time... :-)
"Oh, how I wish some of the lawmakers had that drilled into them, and maybe tattooed on their hands..."
How about having it carved onto their foreheads, backwards with a pen knife so they can see it everytime they go to the head and look in a mirror.
So true, so funny, so sad, so maddening...
works for me!
I worked for the State of California and it was made very clear to me that under no circumstances was I to hire a disabled person because you can never get rid of them.
The legal relationship at interview time is much more tenuous than once a job offer is made. And we were VERY careful to not talk about the disability at all during the interview process. If the interviewee brought it up, we asked them to discuss it with the HR department.
I know we weren't alone.