July 26, 2022 marks the 32nd anniversary of the landmark civil rights legislation known as The Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in employment by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations that make it possible for people with disabilities to perform the functions of a job and helps disabled people access the same job opportunities and benefits as people without disabilities. Also under the law, state and local governments are required to make their programs, services, and activities accessible to disabled people.
The law similarly prohibits private businesses from discriminating against people with disabilities and sets minimum standards for businesses of accessibility and communication for disabled people.
It’s also the law that requires closed captioning and a system for hearing impaired people to communicate over telephone and internet.
Finally, the ADA requires accommodations in public and private transportation to provide increased mobility to people with disabilities.
While it’s clear that the rights of disabled people have been significantly advanced and protected by the ADA, many people feel that a loophole in the Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted more than 80 years ago, still provides for their exploitation.
Employers are allowed under the law to pay disabled workers a sub-minimum wage if they can’t perform a job as well as a person who is not disabled.
According to the Department of Labor, there are more than 150,000 workers in the U.S. for which it is permissible to pay a wage under the minimum, and some of these workers make as little as $.04 per hour.
There are initiatives underway in several states and on the national stage to reform this practice. Currently about one third of disabled Americans are active in the workforce and many people hope that reforms will encourage more disabled people to get jobs, and will improve the quality of life of more disabled Americans.
To learn more about The Americans with Disabilities Act:
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