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Evaluation of Changes to Anti-Discrimination Law

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Reflecting about how the significant changes in Federal anti-discrimination law occurring since 1990 have had an impact in employees and organizations. For example, are these anti-discrimination laws providing more protections for employees such as preventing sexual harassment or more opportunities in organizations for the disabled? Are these anti-discrimination laws changing the culture of organizations so that there is more tolerance of individual employee differences? What have been the impacts of these changes? Explain why these changes are or are not necessary for gaining a competitive advantage in a global economy.

Discounting Discrimination: Dukes v Wal-Mart Proves that Yesterday's Civil Rights Laws Can't Keep up with Today's Economy
by Richard Thompson Ford on June 25, 2011

Employment Discrimination Class Actions After Wal-Mart v Dukes
by Michael Selmi and Sylvia Tsakos

Removing Categorical Constraints on Equal Employment Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Protections
by Anastasia Niedrich

The Importance of Anti-discrimination and Workers' Compensation Laws on the Provision of Workplace Accommodations Following the Onset of a Disability
by Richard V. Burkhauser, Maximilian D. Schmeiser, And Robert R. Weathers II

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Significant changes in the Federal anti-discrimination law are having an impact on the employees and the employers. One of the key developments in the anti-discrimination law is the Supreme Court's decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes (1). In this case even though the decision was in favor of Wal-Mart, the impact was that plaintiffs began filing smaller regional class actions across the country. After the verdict it was perceived that the problem with nationwide class was its size. Even after the Supreme Court ruling lower courts have continued to certify discrimination claims that share a common core(2). The Civil Rights Act of 1963 and Title VII have become law; however, the categorical approach has failed qualified individuals and employees (3). There are persons who are differently abled and those belonging to the LGBT community who are discriminated against. One of the most significant anti-discrimination law passed was The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The impact of this law is considered mixed. Prior to the implementation of the ADA the employers were more likely to accommodate workers if their disability onset was work-related and was covered by the Workers' Compensation Laws. State anti-discrimination laws have also significantly increased accommodation to workers whose disabilities were not work related. Even though the ADA has increased accommodation for all workers, the pre-existing state anti-discrimination and Workers' Compensation laws underestimate its effects (4).

One of the key laws passed by the Federal Government is the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990. This law prohibits discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The main impact of the ADA is to make employment opportunities inclusive. There are other impact. The ADA has been criticized on the grounds that it reduces the employment rate for people with disabilities and increases the cost of doing business for employers. The increase in cost for employers makes US businesses less competitive in global marketplace. Further, the cost increases because of legal risks. It is also believed that the law is ineffectual. The rationale is that legal risks are avoided by avoiding hiring people with disabilities. According to studies, between 1991 and 1995, the employment rate of men with disabilities dropped by 7.8% (5). In 2001, for men of all working ages and women under 40 the current population survey showed a sharp drop in the employment of disabled ...

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