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    Employment Law: Accomodation and Discrimination

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    Please address the following:
    a. What are some measures a company can take to reasonably accommodate people with disabilities, or those with a known drug abuse problem?

    b. Should factors like personality, attitude toward work, and future upward mobility be considered when hiring? Why or why not?

    c. Can Title VII override the employment environment and conditions detailed in a written employment contract between an employer and an employee? Why or why not?

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    Solution Preview

    a.What are some measures a company can take to reasonably accommodate people with disabilities, or those with a known drug abuse problem?

    The purpose of the ADA is to make employment opportunities available to as many people as possible, even if it means the employer must go out of its way to accommodate the special needs of a particular employee. However, there is still a great deal of controversy over what constitutes a "reasonable" accommodation under the ADA. (http://library.findlaw.com/2004/Sep/19/133574.html).

    In fact, when faced with the impact of disability in the workplace, both the employee and employer often lack appropriate information about the interactive reasonable accommodation process, their rights and responsibilities under the law, and the disability itself (http://www.hr.com/SITEFORUM?&t=/Default/gateway&i=1116423256281&application=story&active=no&ParentID=1119278099137&StoryID=1119651711843&xref=http%3A//www.google.ca/search%3Fhl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26channel%3Ds%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial%26hs%3Dz5O%26sa%3DX%26oi%3Dspell%26resnum%3D0%26ct%3Dresult%26cd%3D1%26q%3Ddisability+cases+reasonable+accomodations%26spell%3D1).

    While employers are legally required to make accommodations to overcome barriers that restrict the disabled, such as installing ramps, lowering shelves and desks to allow reach of equipment, an adjustable chair for back pain, key boards with wrist rests and so forth. However, they are not mandated to make these "reasonable accommodations" if they would cause undue hardship to the company. The term "undue hardship" applies to any accommodation that is excessively costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive. For example, an older building with steps through the building might involve a considerable cost to accommodate rebuilding or ramps at every step. This might be deemed not to be "reasonable accommodations." The courts review what actually constitutes a hardship on a case-by-case basis, because issues need to related directly to the function of the job (see excerpt below) (http://library.findlaw.com/2004/Sep/19/133574.html).

    It is sometimes easier to identify the changes that will help someone with a physical or visible disability, such as raising the height of a desk for someone who uses a wheelchair, or providing written information in large print for someone with visual problems. These are usually "reasonable accommodations."However, many people are unaware of the types of accommodations that work for people with mental illness, which can be a more hidden condition. Knowing the things that the person has trouble doing that are due to the disability (known as the functional limitations) and the demands of the job or school program helps to identify accommodations for that person. The symptoms of the illnesses and the medications may cause problems with memory, concentration, relating to others, managing or experiencing emotions, organizing and managing time and other areas (http://web.bu.edu/cpr/reasaccom/whatareras.html). See attached resource on for for descriptions and examples of functional limitations that are due to psychiatric disability.

    The accommodations that have been found to be effective for employees with mental illness include changes in schedules, instructions, job tasks or other procedures and ways of interacting with the employee or student. Not all of these accommodations will work for everyone; each situation should be taken on an individual basis. It is also important to know that many people with psychiatric disabilities may not need accommodations of any kind (http://web.bu.edu/cpr/reasaccom/whatareras.html). What about someone with a known drug abuse problem? Counseling and treatment might the right recommendations for this person and once in ...

    Solution Summary

    By addressing the questions, various dimensions of employment law discrimination are discussed, e.g., reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, hiring policies, Title VII and contracts. This solution is 2000 words with online references.

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