Training Day: Mediation of ADA Disputes - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 57, No. 3
Carrie Donald is an associate professor in the Department of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville. She is also director of the Labor-Management Center. She is an attorney and experienced labor arbitrator and mediator. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Ralston is a research analyst with the Labor-Management Center, where he conducts research in labor-management relations and human resources issues. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Mediating workplace conflicts stemming from violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires specific skills honed by special training. This is something that the Institute for ADA Mediation recognizes and addresses in its training program designed for mediators, attorneys, and human resources and other government officials. Carrie Donald and John Ralston write about the institute’s training program, as well as the results of a survey of the program’s participants. The article provides a background of the ADA and different dispute resolution methods, and how mediation in particular can answer the unique needs of parties in ADA-related disputes.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which was signed into law on July 26, 1990, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, public service, public accommodations, and telecommunications. Title I of the ADA addresses employment discrimination and extends to qualified persons with disabilities the same rights afforded to minorities and women under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Among its findings when passing the ADA, the Congress stated:
Some 43,000,000 Americans have one or more physical or mental disabilities, and this number is increasing as the population as a whole is growing older.…1
However, unlike other classes, the disabled have had little legal recourse to fight discrimination, and have been relegated to relative political powerlessness. Therefore, the Congress found that:
the nation’s proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for such individuals.2