The Importance of Anti-Discrimination and Workers’ Compensation Laws on the Provision of Workplace Accommodations Following the Onset of a Disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was the first federal disability-based anti-discrimination law that applied to a broad range of workers. Whereas some studies have focused on its impact on workplace accommodation, this is the first to do so while accounting for previous state anti-discrimination and Workers’ Compensation laws. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, the authors find that prior to the implementation of the ADA, employers were more likely to accommodate workers if their disability onset was work-related and hence likely to be covered by Workers’ Compensation laws. State anti-discrimination laws significantly increased accommodations to workers whose disabilities were not work-related, effectively bringing their accommodation rates in line with workers whose disabilities were. Though implementation of the ADA increased accommodation for all workers, the authors point out that failure to account for pre-existing state anti-discrimination and Workers’ Compensation laws will underestimate its effect.