Saturday, July 28, 2007

ADA Restoration Act of 2007 is introduced

In case you missed it, this past Thursday was July 26, the 17th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Since that act was signed into law, there have been a litany of court cases where people have claimed they had been discriminated against, most often by employers. Too often, though, the claimants have been struck down in the judicial process, basically stating that they weren’t disabled enough to qualify for protection under the ADA. These were usually cases where people had a disability, but were either taking medication or using a prosthetic device or hearing aid to help manage the disability’s impact on their lives. Basically, the employers said the person was too disabled to have the job and this was compounded by the court saying they were not disabled enough to qualify as a covered party under the ADA.

For some time now, people have been pushing for a redefining of the ADA and it is finally happening. On Thursday, not coincidentally, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the
ADA Restoration Act of 2007
In the House of Representatives, while a similar measure was also introduced in the Senate.

This update will tweak the original wording of the ADA to hopefully correct the overly narrow interpretation that the Supreme Court has wrought in many cases. In Rep. Sensenbrenner’s own words, “The ADA Restoration Act will force courts to focus on whether a person has experienced discrimination “on the basis of disability,” rather than require individuals to demonstrate that they fall within the scope of the law’s protection at all… The legislation will finally enable Americans with disabilities to shine a light on the discrimination they have experienced.”

In a promising demonstration of bipartisanship, Rep. Sensenbrenner Introduced the legislation at a press conference with the
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and Sen. Tom Harkin.

I believe Rep. Hoyer’s words rang true for many when he said, “"Let me be clear: This is not what Congress intended when it passed the ADA. We intended a broad application of this law. Simply put, the point of the ADA is not disability, it is the prevention of wrongful and unlawful discrimination.”

You might want to check out the latest edition of
Government Technology,
An on-line magazine for Information Technology professionals, for an article about the ADA Restoration Act. It is interesting to note the ironic twists of interaction that Tony Coelho has had with the original ADA and its interpretation by the judicial system.

1 comment:

Erica said...
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