The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President Bush in 1990. It was intended to outlaw any form of discrimination against physically challenged individuals. The law’s main aim was to ensure mainstreaming of the physically challenged individuals in the American society. One factor that was never considered during the entire period was the costs implications of the law. As it turned out, the bill never focused on the numerous financial constraints that it would put on business organizations. Additionally, the bill was drafted using imprecise and undefined terms that left most business organizations in limbo. Any of the vague terms would be easily used in a court of law to sue business organizations for their failure to comply with such laws. The bill was divided into four major segments covering physically challenged people. The entire sector had clauses left open that would damage business organizations. The four segments in the bill included: employment, public service, telecommunications, and public accommodation.
The ADA imposed significant costs on the business organizations and to state governments without refunding. The law was unfunded, and business organizations, state, and local governments would cater for all the costs. The act required that business organizations make expensive accommodations cater for the physically challenged. Such accommodations included redesigning of workplaces to make them accessible to the physically challenged people, restructuring of aisles as well as passageways to allow passage for people in wheelchairs and the refurbishing of bathrooms and drinking fountains. Additionally, Braille markings had to be placed on all the directional signs. The businesses were also required to purchase special equipment such as telephoned headsets, lowered furniture and page-turners. Moreover, the ADA act explicitly wanted the organizations to hire qualified interpreters and readers for the physically challenged people. A knowledgeable reader or interpreter would cost at least $8 to $12 an hour. Additionally, business organizations could not just hire one interpreter or reader due to unseen circumstances such as vacations and sickness. All the above activities were to be catered for by the business organization without any funding from the government. Implementation of all the law would require business organizations to spend more money that had not been budgeted in their plans. Additionally, the law had numerous loopholes since it never gave precise definitions of the term ‘accommodation’ opening it up to numerous legal battles as lawyers sued many businesses for not complying with the new law. As a result, state and federal governments were forced to come up with new laws that would see an increase in taxes, business were forced to increase the prices of their product as well as cut down on their employment opportunities to obtain the required capital to implement the new law. The new law had opened loopholes that would see lawyers encourage constant and expensive litigations from a business organization who failed to comply with the law. The overall effect of the law would see the international competitiveness of the American sink gradually.
The ADA was supposed to have been founded on moral as well as economic grounds. In a free society, the government is supposed to enforce powers that protect life, property, and liberty. Any attempt by the government to enforce any moral behavior goes beyond the scope of the government. When the government restricts the employment terms of certain organizations, it decreases the quality of services produced. Employees in a company are paid on the basis of the services offered to the company. The hiring of certain physically challenged employees in certain organization results in increased costs, meaning the business organization is spending more on individuals than what is paying them. When the government tries to enforce moral behavior, it ends up punishing innocent companies, business organizations, and owners of commercial enterprises unfairly.
The government has a moral and legal right to ensure fairness in all standards. Leaving federal governments and business enterprises to bear all the costs go against the principles advocated for by the Fifth Amendment. The constitution requires that the business firms be compensated for such costs. Failure to compensate the business firms has forced the American business system to be viewed as a social welfare organization rather than a business entity.
Lastly, ADA act has seen the crumbling of small businesses. Small businesses with more than fifty people are supposed to adhere strictly to these rules. Small and medium enterprises make up the majority of the business in the United States. Additionally, such businesses do not have adequate capital to undergo the major restructuring process required by the government. As a result, this has seen the crumbling of the majority of such businesses that were a major source of employment. In conclusion, the American Disabilities Act has proved to be a financial burden to most business enterprises. Although, people with disabilities should have an equal chance to share the benefits enjoyed by non-disabled people, it should not be at the expense of the business organizations. Amendments should be made in the law that minimize costs as well as specifies some of the terms used.