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The Extent and Effect of Employer Compliance with the Accommodations Mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Article Review:

This study looks at employer compliance in providing accommodations for workers that become disabled while employed since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Prior to this research, no articles have examined whether this legislation has changed the extent to which workers with disabilities are accommodated or how a change in accommodation has affected their employment.

The study uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) that surveys more than 22,000 individuals every 2 years to examine this area.

The primary research questions for this study are:

1. Has the accommodations mandate set forth in the ADA legislation changed the incidence of accommodations among workers with disabilities?

2. Contrary to a requirement in the ADA for commensurate wages, did employers lower the wages of workers who were accommodated post-ADA?

3. What was the effect of accommodations on job separation, and has that effect changed since passage of the ADA?

Results from this study show that, first, there is a slight increase in the frequency of accommodation since the passing of the ADA legislation. Next, there is evidence that since the ADA became law, employers have passed some of the costs of accommodations on to their workers in the form of lower wages. Finally, employer-provided accommodation increases labor market attachment and therefore shows a decrease in job separation in the first two years after disability onset. However this increase was seen both before and after the passing of the ADA legislation.

This is what the author of the study described as a surprising result as it would be expected to see a larger increase in attachment post-ADA.

Reference:

Charles, K.K. (2004). The Extent and Effect of Employer Compliance with the Accommodations Mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 15:2, 86-96.