Until now, small companies may have ignored all the attention given to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which at first applied only to businesses with 25 or more employees. But as of July 26, 1994, the ADA affects companies with 15 or more employees. To get up to speed quickly, consult Complying with the ADA: A Small Business Guide to Hiring and Employing the Disabled, by Jeffrey G. Allen (John Wiley & Sons, 1993, $17.95).

The ADA prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived mental or physical disability, and critics of the act consider it an invitation to litigation. Allen's book carefully explains who is and is not covered by the act and details how to comply with its rules. The book includes samples of employment applications that show how to find out what you need to know without risking claims of unfair bias, as well as samples of "clean" job descriptions. It also includes a directory of ADA resources.