The Americans With Disabilities Act and Title I 'Why The ADA Has Not Increased Employment for Persons with Disabilities

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been hailed as a landmark piece of civil rights legislation and a boon to people with disabilities in the United States. Title I of the ADA specifically addresses employment discrimination toward persons with disabilities. Congressional proponents of the ADA anticipated that the statute would bring about a reversal of the high unemployment numbers among the disabled. This thesis examines the unemployment data for persons with disabilities 10 years following enactment of the ADA. It shows that the ADA has not reversed unemployment trends among persons with disabilities. This work compares the expectations of the bill's sponsors and/or advocates for improvements in employment opportunities for working aged adults with disabilities, provided for by Title I of the ADA, with the actual outcomes. This thesis highlights some the principal problems inherent with the law itself, problems that may be contributing to the ADA's inability to reverse high unemployment numbers among the disabled. This paper also addresses concerns within the US business community regarding implementation of the law. The results presented show that the ADA has not brought about the flood of litigation originally anticipated by American business, neither has it increased frivolous litigation. Data are also offered which demonstrate that compliance with the law in the form of accommodation expenses for persons with disabilities is not onerous. Finally, this study presents some of the ongoing problems with regard to discrimination against persons with disabilities in the workplace.



Disability, Americans With Disabilities Act, ADA, Employment