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construction workers with congenital back anomalies fit within that definition, even though they risk Injury Pron routine lifting, and other physical work required on construction jobsites. L. Black. led. Ve Marshall, 497 P. Supp. 1088 (D. Haw. 1980). The construction Industry simply cannot afford to employ a helper for everyone susceptible to physical injury from lifting or other work required on construction jobsites.
Most employers have at least the opportunity to amortize the cost of accommodating a disabled individual over a long period of tine, or to build the cost into their price structure. Construction employers, however, have neither of these advantages. Construction employers have to amortize the cost of making an accommodation over the short time available to complete a particular project. Construction employers cannot build the cost into their price structure because the cost is not foreseeable at the time when bids are due.
other terms used in the proposed legislation, such as "reasonable accommodation" and "undue hardship," are simply too vague to assist construction employers in their efforts to comply with the law. These terms are subjective, and will tend to waste resources on litigation.
AGC is cognizant of the recent colloquy between Senator Hatch and Senator Harkin on "reasonable accommodation" and "undue hardship." On September 7, 1989, during the Senate debate on s. 933, Senator Hatch questioned whether that bill takes "the nature of a particular industry into account," and Senator Harkin
responded that "each industry, and Indeed each separate business, ray be unique in the type of accommodation employers are able to provide without significant difficulty or expense." Senator Harkin later stated that "(c)onstruction is unlike manufacturing, and most other types of industries, in that employer is usually confronted with bonitoring multiple worksites at remote
AGC appreciates this effort to clarify the vague terms in the proposed legislation, but believes that the House of Representatives must do more. The statutory language still invites
In closing, AGC would like to thank the subcommittee for the
opportunity to express these views.
AGC strongly supports the
cause of the many disabled Americans who simply seek their rightful place in the American workplace. AGC believes that all citizens should be, and are committed to, equal opportunity for all in our society, and in every respect. with that said, AGC urges the subcommittee to exercise the utmost care in the drafting of this legislation to ensure that, unlike recent legislation enacted by Congress, extended debate and corrective legislation does not become necessary later to correct mistakes that maximum care can now avoid.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF STEPHEN B. FAWCETT, PH.D., PROFESSOR OF HUMAN DEVEL
OPMENT AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATE OF THE RESEARCH AND TRAINING CENTER ON INDEPENDENT LIVING (RTCIL) and Barbara Bradford, Training Associate, RTCIL, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
We and our colleagues have conducted a study, now 8 years in
running, of the concerns of people with physical disabilities.
The study captures disabled citizens' ideas for improving the
communities in which we all live. This research information
provides a perspective of how people with disabilities themselves
see the issues and options that affect their independence.
Accordingly, it may be helpful to your deliberations about the
Americans with Disabilities Act.
Using our concerns Report Method. we have collected data
from over 17.000 people with physical disabilities in 12 states.
Participants were drawn from entire states, such as Indiana and
Iowa, large urban areas, such as Los Angeles and Orange County,
California, and many small rural communities, Survey participants
included people with all types and severities of impairments.
Their living conditions are consistent with the Harris poll
sample; about two thirds are unemployed and have incomes below
Unique surveys were developed by local groups of disabled
citizens. They identified the top problems and strengths in each
community. Consumers discussed the issues in town meetings and
generated their own ideas about what could be done to improve
We have attached, for the record, a copy of the latest
edition of the sum ary report on this research, a document
entitled Common Concerns of Disabled Americans: Issues and
Options. We will draw on this report in our testimony.
Imagine: People from places as different as Anaheim, CA; Des
Moines, IA; the Missouri Ozarks, and the Arapaho-Shoshone
reservation in Wyoming saying quite similar things about the
barriers that affect their personal independence. This
representative group of over 17.000 disabled citizens says, with
a united voice, and many times over, that they face limited
opportunities and discrimination in employment, work
disincentives, unwillingness of employers to provide reasonable accommodation, and lack of access to public transportation, streets and sidewalks, and commercial and public buildings.
Disabled citizens spoke about public accommodations issues
through specific survey questions and comments at the town
meetings. The data support retaining, and perhaps even expanding,
the scope of coverage as it now reads.
Our concerns data on access to commercial services show an
average rating of 87% on importance (very high), with a
satisfaction rating of only 47%. Issues of public access had a high importance rating of 81% and a relatively low satisfaction rating of 48%. What if a corporation like McDonald's conducted a
similar survey and found that satisfaction with its fries was
only 48%? We can bet that there would be more than symbolic
What people really seen to care about is access to stores,
local restaurants, public buildings, banks, utility companies,
and service agency offices: those places necessary for the
everyday conduct of all of our lives. Can I get to the grocery
store or discount shopping center? And, if I can get there, can I get in it and around it?
To restrict the coverage of the bill to motels, hotels,
places of entertainment, and the oflices of health care providers
leaves out many of the places necessary for the everyday conduct
of people's lives. Also, since the na jority of people with
disabilities are poor, access to fine hotels and restaurants is
something many can only hope to enjoy some day.
It is essential that hotels, motels, and recreational
facilities de accessible on an equal basis, and critical that access to health care is available to all Americans. But, to
restrict the scope of the ADA to these places ignores the basic rights and needs of the great majority of disabled Americans,
leaving them socially isolated in their homes, and still barred
from equal participation in society. People are calling for their
rights to access to the everyday places in their own
neighborhoods and towns.
To summarize, we found substantial and widespread
dissatisfaction with an array of access issues by this
representative group of the 36 million disabled Americans. And. with the imminent passage of the ADA, Congress has demonstrated
But, what about implementation? How can this important civil
rights legislation be implemented in places as diverse as
Bismark, North Dakota and Los Angeles? How can it be done in a
way that minimizes litigation by angry consumers and limits
un justified claims of "undue burden" by businesses?
A successful implementation strategy must balance potentially conflicting interests: the rights to equal access and opportunity and the responsibility to avoid placing an undue
burden on those public and private entities accountable for