Guilty until proven innocent.
Does that sound like a good idea? Of course not, and yet businesses may be faced with just such a reality unless Congress steps in and stops the proposed changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act before the new rules take effect May 24th of this year.
According to various estimates, we already have as many as 40-50 million Americans currently qualifying as disabled and that requires their employers to make certain accommodations so these disabled persons can function in the workplace. Additionally, there are countless government programs, costing billions of dollars annually, built to support and assist people who genuinely require assistance.
Protecting and enabling Americans with various challenges, and helping them contribute to our society is a worthy cause indeed and these laws were written to assist a small minority among us with a legitimate need. But what does it say when the rules are changed to the point at which a majority of Americans can now be considered disabled? What will be the financial and social implications of a country where most of it's people are officially labeled as 'disabled?'
A Fox News story on these changes has brought to light some surprising realities that should concern all of us;
Although the new regulations cannot classify any condition as a disability per se, there is a list of maladies that will be viewed that way "in virtually all cases." The list includes: autism, diabetes, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Overall, lawyers for employers say the regulations shift the burden of proof in disability claims.
They say that employers will now have to show why a worker doesn't require special accommodations, rather than employees proving that the measures are merited.
"It's going to be very difficult for employers to argue in just about any case that an employee is exaggerating their disability or that the person isn't genuinely disabled," McGlothlen said. (McGlothen is an attorney representing employers in ADA cases)
There are those who would argue that the ADA has done more harm than good. Meet Greg Perry, an author of more than seventy books, seen here on Penn & Teller's HBO debunking TV program called 'Bullsh*t':
A brilliant quote - 'Coercion never produces compassion.' Perry's points are valid and he is a great example of someone with physical challenges succeeding because he wanted to succeed, not because a government program.