15th13th Birthday to the ADA
by Michael Fox
Actually, in light of all the reports on this being the 15th birthday of the Americans with Disabilities Act, what I should have said to be more accurate was Happy 13th Effective Birthday to the ADA. Those already toiling in the labor and employment law vineyards in 1990 will remember that there was an unusual lead time between the date that the first President Bush signed the legislation on July 26, 1990 and the effective date of Title I that dealt with employment on July 26, 1992. Initially only employers with more than 25 employees were covered. It was another two years, July 26, 1994 before the threshold for coverage was lowered to the current fifteen employees. For the effective date of the various sections, see Americans with Disabilities Act, A Summary.
No telling how many forests were sacrificed to all the writing about the ADA in that two year period (not to mention the moaning and gnashing of teeth). It was primarily, although not exclusively, done by those of us on the management side, never willing to let an opportunity to "excite the troops" go by. As it turns out the ADA has ended up being interpreted in vastly different ways than at least some had predicted. What seemed the common wisdom at the time, "that any lawyer who could not prove anyone was disabled should turn in his bar card," turned out to be oh so wrong. Fortunately for some of us, blogs did not then exist so our predictions are at least not preserved for the whole world to see.
Update: Thanks to the commenter for catching that my dates were off by a decade. I have updated to the correct dates.