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End the duopoly

30 years after the ADA, disabled workers continue to fight for employment equality

Street curbs must be wheelchair accessible. Discriminating against disabled job candidates is illegal. Businesses must remove any architectural barriers when updating existing facilities.

These are a few of the most prominent outcomes of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which passed 30 years ago this month. The changes ushered in by the passage of the ADA revolutionized life for nearly 61 million American adults with disabilities—or nearly one in four people in the U.S.

The unfortunate reality is that the letter of the law can only take things so far; it’s up to people to live out its spirit.

The greatest disappointment has been in progress made toward economic independence and equal employment opportunity. Fair access to employment means greater economic self-sufficiency and more active participation in community life. However, accommodating workers with disabilities has been a persistent challenge.

In fact, a study published in Regulation , an economics and policy magazine, reports that an unintended consequence of the ADA is fewer companies have hired people with disabilities. The study explains that the fear of added cost to accommodate workers with disabilities, along with the threat of EEOC litigation for ADA noncompliance, have deterred employers from bringing people with disabilities on staff.

And for those […]

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