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HR MANAGERS CONCERNED OVER POTENTIAL ADA LITIGATION, BNA SURVEY FINDS

 HR MANAGERS CONCERNED OVER POTENTIAL ADA LITIGATION,
 BNA SURVEY FINDS
 WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Three-fourths of employers surveyed recently by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., expressed moderate to serious concern about potential litigation resulting from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to a survey conducted for BNA's Americans with Disabilities Act Manual.
 The ADA's employment provision (Title I) goes into effect Sunday, July 26, for employers of 25 or more workers. Title I prohibits discriminatory hiring and personnel practices against qualified individuals and requires employers to make "reasonable" efforts to accommodate individuals' mental or physical limitations as long as the accommodations do not present an undue hardship to the employer.
 According to results of the telephone survey of 104 human resources managers from across the nation, a large majority of respondents (69 percent) are very familiar with the ADA. Seventy-six percent said they are moderately or very concerned about potential litigation resulting from the new law (very, 32 percent; moderately, 44 percent; not very, 24 percent). The EEOC has predicted that up to 15,000 charges of disability discrimination in employment will be filed between now and July 1993.
 More than three-fourths of respondents expect their organizations to expend moderate (51 percent) to extensive (28 percent) effort on ADA compliance during the next 12 months. Many respondents commented that varying court interpretations of the act may require them to take actions beyond those currently planned to achieve compliance.
 Fifty-four percent of the survey respondents said they feel their organization is "mostly" prepared to deal with ADA requirements, while 43 percent said it is "somewhat" prepared. Only 2 percent said their organization is "not very" prepared to deal with requirements.
 To date, the majority of employers (57 percent) surveyed have made "moderate efforts" to comply with the law, while 31 percent have labeled their actions as "extensive" and 12 percent expended "minimal" efforts. Job descriptions (75 percent), application forms, employee handbooks and other documents (67 percent) were most likely to have changed due to ADA. In addition, half of responding firms reported training supervisors or employees on how to supervise and work with individuals with disabilities.
 Only 7 percent of respondents described to-date ADA compliance as "very expensive," while 30 percent described it as "somewhat expensive." The majority of respondents, 62 percent, said it was not very expensive to comply with ADA.
 Other survey findings include:
 -- Fifty-one percent of all respondents said they expect their ADA-related spending to be higher over the next year compared with the last 12 months, 34 percent expect similar costs and 11 percent expect lower ADA-related costs in the coming year. Of those respondents anticipating higher costs, 42 percent pointed to "Structural renovations or other facility modification," as the source of the increased costs, while 43 percent cited "accommodations for individual employees with disabilities."
 -- Thirty-seven percent of respondents expect to use outside experts during the next year to help them comply with ADA.
 -- Among potential concerns related to ADA 27 percent of respondents are "very concerned" over ADA's impact on their health insurance costs; 27 percent are "very concerned" over their workers' compensation costs, and 23 percent expressed concern over potential conflicts with employees with disabilities over what accommodations are "reasonable."
 Survey respondents are middle- and senior-level human resources/employee relations managers and practitioners at private and public companies across the United States. Forty-five percent of the survey sample represents companies with 1,000 or more employees, while 55 percent represents firms with fewer than 1,000 workers. Thirty percent of survey respondents reported that their employees had union representation. The telephone survey was conducted by BNA Surveys Unit research staff from July 6-13.
 BNA's Americans with Disabilities Act Manual is a one-stop information source on ADA compliance. The two-binder reference service, updated monthly, covers all aspects of the law, including requirements affecting employment, state and local government/transportation, public accommodations and telecommunications. Subscribers also receive a monthly newsletter summarizing major developments in ADA compliance. The manual is designed for use by human resources managers, attorneys, architects, facilities managers and others who require ADA compliance information.
 BNA is a leading publisher of print and electronic news and information services, reporting on developments in business, labor relations, law economics, taxation, environmental protection and safety, and other public policy and regulatory issues.
 -0- 7/21/92
 /CONTACT: Jenny Harris of Edelman Public Relations, 202-371-0200, for BNA/ CO: The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. ST: District of Columbia IN: PUB SU:


DC -- DC013 -- 1296 07/21/92 11:45 EDT
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Date:Jul 21, 1992
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