Americans are generous people. They believe in helping others. The Americans for Disability Act, passed by overwhelming bi-partisan Republican and Democratic support, championed both by then Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole and then President Bill Clinton, must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Why not help people with disabilities? Isn't that the right thing to do?
Most Americans would answer the above question in the affirmative. Why not?
But, the reality is the ADA, as the act is known, has a definition of disability that the vast majority of Americans would never agree with. For just one example, chronic alcoholism is a "disabililty" under the ADA. If an employer refuses to hire someone because they are obviously inebriated in the interview and they confess to a severe drinking problem during the job interview, then that employer can be prosecuted under the ADA. Is that what a bi-partisan group of Democrats and Republicans thought they were singing up for? Funny! Neither Bob Dole nor President Clinton brought up the plight of alcoholics as reasons for their support of the ADA when they spoke eloquently for the Disabilities Act.
In the modern University, professors are required to "accomodate" students with disabilities. You might think that would mean students with speech impairments or other physical disabilities. Nope, such accomodations to students with physical disabilities are rare. The vast majority of the "accomodations" in the classroom are for students with "learning disabilities." Such learning disabilities often give such students three to four times as much time to take an examination as the time provided for students without such disabilities. One wonders what future careers this time of "accomodation" is preparing the student for? What are these "learning disabilities?" That's a pretty murky topic. "Inability to focus or concentrate" for lengthy periods of time is one such disability. Did the sponsors of ADA envision this application of the notion of a "protected disability?"
No wonder employers shy away from hiring employees when lawsuits can quickly emerge if a potential job candidate shows up drunk for the interview. Worse, the target of the lawsuit is the potential employer! There are so many reasons not to hire anyone and to economize on the work force. This is just one of many.
Outsourcing looks very attractive when you stop to think that employers in other countries don't face these kinds of lawsuits from the mere act of attempting to give someone a job. America has put itself in a position where offering a job is, more often than not, a prelude to a civil suit or a violation of the criminal code. So, why bother? Employees are toxic and best avoided. That's the message from the US government.