Can the ADA Achieve its Employment Goals?

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28 Scopus citations


One of the main objectives of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is to increase the relative wages and employment rates of persons with disabilities by eliminating employer discrimination. The act implicitly assumes that employer discrimination is the main cause of disabled persons' disadvantages in the labor market, ignoring important differences between this minority group and the groups protected by civil rights legislation in the past. Neither does the law address the underlying sources of employer discrimination against persons with disabilities. Research demonstrates that prejudice is one important source of such discrimination but not the only source. Other factors—namely, informational problems and productivity differentials—also contribute to differences in the employment and wages of disabled and nondisabled workers. Because the employment provisions of the ADA do not take account of these facts, the act provides insufficient assistance to persons with disabilities subject to the most discrimination in the labor market and is unlikely to increase substantially the employment rates of this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-52
Number of pages16
JournalThe ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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