Legal Discrimination

The laws that are enacted to prevent discrimination have historically been effective in helping make the American workplace a cheerful and safe environment. One law in particular that is significant is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This act prevents the discrimination of hiring an individual who meets the job qualifications yet has a disability.

President George Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Fundamentally, I think this is one of the best anti-discrimination laws since it allows individuals with disabilities to participate in society which is mutually beneficial to the individual and the economy. However, this act is being used in conjunction with another law and the turnout isn’t too reassuring.

According to section 14 ( c )of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, employers are allowed to receive a certificate which enables them to pay disabled workers below minimum wage. The pay they receive is based on what percentage of the job the employers believes the employee can complete when compared to what the employer expects of the employee.

For example, John Doe works a minimum wage job at a clothing company and he is expected to have the ability to fold 100 shirts an hour. However, due to a disability he can only fold 75 shirts an hour, his employer can justify paying him 75% of the minimum wage because of this.

This act was created in the 1930’s with the intention of allowing more people with disabilities to have the opportunity to work. Evidently, times have changed and for better or for worse, 2016 is a scarce resemblance of the 1930’s.

Factory workers at the Ford Motor Company in the 1930’s

In today’s world, companies such as Goodwill are taking advantage of this act and are legally paying disabled employees cents on the dollar per hour. This is an unethical loophole that is over 80 years old and needs fixed in order to create a truly non-discriminatory work environment.

On top of this, CEO of Goodwill Jim Gibbons makes well over $500,000 per year for running a not-for-profit entity. But in Goodwill’s defense, they claim they offer a health and wellness benefit program to eligible employees.

Regardless, a person who is disabled or not that satisfactory fulfills the requirements of the job at hand should get paid the standard wage for working that particular job.

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