ADA Backfires, and ESA Kills

Congress is currently in the process of rewriting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to make it even more costly for employers to employ people with disabilities. The bill, ironically, is called the ADA Restoration Act of 2007.


The existing ADA has done nothing to increase the number of disabled people in the workforce, because it punishes the very employers who follow its command to hire disabled people by subjecting them to costly lawsuits if they fail to make special “accommodations” for their disabled employees. (The employer has to pay the disabled worker’s legal fees if the worker wins, but the employer is stuck paying its own legal fees even if the employer wins).

As an article in Sunday’s New York Times pointed out, “when the A.D.A. was enacted in 1992, it led to a sharp drop in the employment of disabled workers. How could this be? Employers, concerned that they wouldn’t be able to discipline or fire disabled workers who happened to be incompetent, apparently avoided hiring them in the first place.”

Congress has apparently learned nothing from that.

The Times article also notes that the Endangered Species Act has apparently harmed, rather than helped, various species, by giving landowners an incentive to destroy species habitat before it can be declared a “critical habitat” in which use of the land is effectively prohibited.