New Law Aims to Reduce Unemployment Rates Among Disabled Americans

As of March 24th, all businesses working in partnership with the federal government are required to meet certain hiring standards as part of a new push to reduce employment inequality among America’s disabled citizens. From now on, anyone with a government contract will be expected to set and meet a goal of employing and attracting more disabled Americans. The goal at this time is to meet a quota of seven percent.

A Push to Enforce Standards the ADA Set Up

The new standard is meant to address issues of income and employment equality among the disabled in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 20% of Americans live with disabilities, a category that carries with it a variety of conditions and issues. Regardless, working as a disabled American brings with it a number of challenges. While the unemployment rate in the States remains unfortunately high, hovering around 7.3% percent for the general population, among the disabled, the unemployment rate spikes at about 14%. Further, the median income for disabled workers is under half that of their non-disabled counterparts. Add to these issues the fact that most employers don’t go out of their way to hire or accommodate disabled Americans — a key driver behind the 260% increase in wrongful termination lawsuits in the last two decades — and it’s not too hard to see how big of a problem this really is.

In essence, the new mandates are helping to enforce laws that should have adequately been addressed with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The act prohibits private employers, state and local governments, and any other employing body from harassing or discriminating against people with disabilities. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t go far enough in its oversight or enforcement of its statutes, as is evidenced by the disparity in income and employment levels between able-bodied and disabled Americans. While the new law is a step in the right direction, it’s doubtful that it will be enough to correct the issue entirely.

Now it’s your turn: what do you think about the federal government taking steps to improve employment rates among disabled American citizens? Sound off in the comments below!

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