On tonight’s John Stossel show (FBN)

by Walter Olson on September 2, 2010

I’m a guest on tonight’s John Stossel program on the Fox Business Network, on the subject of the consequences of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The show was shot live to tape yesterday in New York and was fascinating throughout; even those who think they know this subject well will learn a lot. I’m also quoted in John’s latest syndicated column on the same issue.

Among the highlights of the taping: a disabled-rights lobbyist defended several extreme applications of the law, including the notion that it might be appropriate to force networks to hire someone who suffers from stuttering as on-air television talent. We also shed some light on the state of California’s up-to-$4,000-a-violation bounty system for freelancers who identify ADA violations in Main Street businesses, and the case for at least requiring complainants to give business owners notice and an opportunity to fix an ADA violation before suing. (The disabled-rights lobby has managed to stifle that proposal in Congress for years.) Also mentioned: the suit against the Chipotle restaurant chain recently covered in this space.

Other recent coverage of the ADA here and here (cross-posted from Cato at Liberty). More: Amy Alkon notes some New York City examples from a commenter.

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“Pregnant = disabled, at least according to the 6th Circuit”
09.02.10 at 6:47 am

{ 5 comments }

1 Richard Nieporent 09.02.10 at 7:01 am

Among the highlights of the taping: a disabled-rights lobbyist defended several extreme applications of the law, including the notion that it might be appropriate to force networks to hire someone who suffers from stuttering as on-air television talent.

I guess he thinks Harrison Bergeron is an ADA compliance manual.

2 Chris Hoey 09.02.10 at 11:01 am

I worked for my employer, a large general merchandise firm, and testified before Congress for a retail association during the run up to the passage of the ADA. Our efforts to get some definitions and precise parameters into the final act were only slightly successful. I pointed out then, and have been proven correct in my predictions, that a nebulous standard such as “reasonable accommodation” would lead to litigation, not provide a guide.
At the time I was told by the top legal assistant of the then chairman of the EEOC, that there is no accommodation a large retailer cannot afford to make. His contention was that we would have to hire sighted readers to assist blind checkout operators. Also that there was nothing to prevent an epileptic diamond cutter from being employed as such, since he wasn’t a danger to others, only to the occasional diamond. This is the attitude that prevails among some in this murky law.

3 Adam 09.02.10 at 10:06 pm

Well done, Walter.

4 Robert 09.03.10 at 11:33 pm

You would think the simple fact that employment rates for the disabled have DECLINED since the ADA would cause Congress to reconsider….

5 James Meadours 09.12.10 at 1:19 am

Dear Everyone The ADA help me thought out my life and the jobs I have. Before ADA I did not have job in the community. I was at workshop program only make 50 cents hour. From 1983 to 1986 work part time. I am person with I use the old word then better understand were come from mental retardation or other word hate is handicap or the disabled. Atfer high school 1986 I work there full time only 50 cents hour we still have programs across country. A year later I move into 12 bed group-home. I did not much freedom only time. I go my church across street. The only be alone is my friends at my church. Until I discover support group call self advocacy and fine single group this first time see as james not labled on too me. I change my voting card address. I know could go county place to voting card. I met a new friend Michelle at self advocacy meeting lose her phone number in the fall 1989 I saw her at county fair then start take me the meetings also start become system advocacy also be on The Arc of Tulsa board. I was first person with disabilities. Then her amd my friends at single group think could work in community. My first job was wash dish but it was not for me because my boss treat me so bad because she thought all people with disabilities the same I was different the person before me have some major issue but she canot see that I was at time only get SSI check also during time at workshop also get SSI check. During that time I start voluntee my time at The Arc of Tulsa and start speak my mind in Oklahoma city to make community support better in community and put more money for job coach to help me and other people like me get jobs in community not be hid from the outside world. In spring 1991 I went two place for job. The first place is foodshopping place. Something in my gut I did feel right about got job offere there then second place. The clother store feel good about the workers treat me like team player and the boss. The boss told me could get job in June. The foodshopping open in April I choice clother store. I wait June it was best choice I make at time. I remember the things help me to do list which day I going do what. This help me do this job. In 1992 at superbowl party. I tell my friends at single. I want move a new place to live guess what the did the help me fine place 3 weeks later I have my own place Since 1992 I been own place. At time I get small SSI check at same time I become more like system advocate because I was persident state wide self advocacy group in oklahoma. During time off from work. I speak to lawmakers how we need services better also same travel across oklahoma start local self advocacy get home late night but the next day I could call in but get there 7:30 monday thought saturday my long days Monday thought tuesday 730 AM to 500 PM sometimes work on Wed. I do everything in store be ready. The only thing did not work cashbox. I have no problem with that. In 1995 I have job offere work for The Arc of Tulsa. Before leave clother store as my boss would have another person with disabilities take my place he say yes. I trainner train him do my job. In 1995 while was work at The Arc of Tulsa. Gone washington DC as key noter speaker JFK JR and other key people from DC. The have small group people of Louisiana the as me I would be move to Louisiana. I thought was joking a year later call speak in Louisiana at meeting as keynoter speaker. The as me again. I told them the were pull my leg. The really want me. Give me one month think about it. A month later yes. But told them wait feb 97 the say could wait. The got everything ready. For me I need look for place live. I work The Arc of Louisiana 9 years during become national persident of self advocacy group. 2003 I move to Texas work The Arc of Texas for 3 years.In 1994 until 2002 I was on the national self advocacy group. I got job offere doing system advocacy and self advocacy other advocacy work. This job now I do speak different group and to make system better in Texas. With out ADA. I do not having device help me write letters or put speech together. To have someone write notes at meetings. Is hard speak on issue and try kept what people say at meetings. Since 1997 to today have no SSI check. I make great money to pay my bills and the foods I like and also go my favor sport bar hang out my friends and drink my favor drink. The ADA also help me other area too. I do not wamt share it. Look back 1986 grad from high school making only 50 cents hour To year **,***. All stuff I do it on my own without my dad and my step-mom help. Since 1990 to today my dad and step-mom the want me still live in group-home and workshop also get SSI check even the are the Far Right and me I am far left. The last thing treat as adults not think of kids like do not path head
I may mispell some words or may forget some little words. It my choice talking problem to show we are human like everyone else

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