More than a third (37%) of companies with fewer than 100 employees have done nothing to prepare for the effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to a recent survey by Jackson, Lewis, Schnitzler, & Krupman, a law firm in New York City. That's a big mistake. Some 17%, or 43.6 million, of the country's population have disabilities, yet only a third of those people are currently employed. Companies that don't make plans to incorporate workers with disabilities are not only overlooking a valuable resource (see "Tapping Workers with Disabilities," right); they are also making themselves vulnerable to legal threats. Though Title III of the ADA took effect only last January, already 7% of the companies surveyed by Jackson, Lewis have had charges or complaints filed against them.

What kind of impact do you think the American with Disabilities Act will have on your business?

A slight impact 49%

A major impact 15

No impact 16

Don't know 19

What has your company reviewed in preparation for the changes in employment practices that were required as of July 26, 1992?

Recruitment procedures and 82%

employment applications

Job descriptions for essential 80

and nonessential functions

Employment texts and other 38

selection criteria

Policies on medical examinations 27

One of the first comprehensive sources of information and resources on the ADA is Project Access Computer Information Center (708-390-8700), which contains a database on locating, hiring, and accommodating people with disabilities and integrating them into the work force. You can subscribe for $100 per year. -- Ellyn E. Spragins

Source: The 1992 Jackson, Lewis "Workplace Issues" survey of 73 companies with fewer than 100 employees, New York City.