Disabilities and Workplace Bullying essay sample

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Disabilities and Workplace Bullying


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is arguably the most important law, protecting civil rights of disabled people in the United States of America. It represents an approach to the problem of workplace discrimination and was enhanced by the amendments, which were made in 2008. Despite the applicability and certain success of the law in concern of diminishing the problem of discrimination, this law does not provide tools and standards for protection of disabled individuals against such significant problem as workplace bullying, which has the most negative effect on these people.

Disabilities and Workplace Bullying

The rights of the people with disabilities are protected by the U.S. legislation, represented by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was passed in 1990 and signed by President George Bush on 26th of July 1990 (Ada.gov, 2015). This law prohibits any discrimination and guarantees equal opportunities for the people with disabilities to participate in all spheres of the mainstream life in the USA, particularly in the workplace. According to the definition of the ADA, disability is a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits any of the major life activities of a person; it can also define a person with a history of the above-mentioned impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as the one having such an impairment (Ada.gov, 2015). According to the research conducted by Moss et al., more than 175 thousand charges were filed under the ADA, 83% of which were closed before March of 1998, representing about 145 thousand of cases (1999). Of these 145 000 charges, 15.7% brought certain benefits to the plaintiff, approximately 8,500 U.S. dollars, with only 1.7% resulting in new hires or reinstatements (1999). Hence, it is possible to assume that the initial version of the law did not bring significant rates of benefits to the plaintiff. The most recent amendment to the ADA became effective on January 1, 2009 (Ada.gov, 2015). It specified the concept of “major life activities” to expand the narrow interpretation of “disabled” by the Supreme Court. As argued by Hickox, the amendments to the ADA can be considered underwhelming, if not worse (2010). Hence, it is clear that the ADA has not provided solutions to all the problems of disability in the workplace. Particularly the problem of tormenting at the workplace has not been solved by the law. The law does not provide protection against experiences of disabled people connected with tormenting, especially in concern of their impeded work practices. Moreover, this legislation does not provide any specific definitions to enable to assess the cases of tormenting in the workplace.

However, the problem of tormenting seems to be a significant one. As argued by Tracy et al., approximately 30% of employees have experienced the tormenting in the course of their cooperation with colleagues and management at least once; and 10% of them are tormented very frequently (2006). Hence, workplace tormenting or workplace bullying represents a pervasive problem. According to Namie and Lutgen-Sandvik, workplace bullying …

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