Thursday, March 29, 2012

Haley praises bill that brings Kansas laws in line with ADA standards

News release from Senator Haley's office:
TOPEKA –Senator David Haley, D-Kansas City, represented the Kansas Legislature at the Topeka Statehouse for the signing of House Bill 2335, which brings Kansas laws in line with federal ADA standards.
“The inequity between federal and state statutes has caused undue confusion among disabled Kansans and their employers,” said Senator Haley.  “By aligning state and federal policies regarding disability rights, we can ensure that every Kansan is protected against discrimination in the workplace.”
Under current Kansas law, companies with four or more employees must recognize disability rights guidelines.  Under federal ADA regulations, however, only companies with 25 or more employees are subjected to disability law.  HB2335 will unify standards for Kansas companies with four to 24 employees.
“Disparity among state and federal guidelines has also caused confusion among the courts, making it unnecessarily difficult for a disabled Kansan to file a discrimination suit against an employer,” Senator Haley added.  “Clarifying these rules not only protects every disabled Kansans right to file a discrimination complaint, it will secure nearly $130,000 in federal funds.”
According to the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC), 236 disability employment complaints were filed jointly with the EEOC in fiscal year 2009.  Investigation of these cases totaled $129,800, all paid by federal EEOC grant monies.  Without passage of HB2335, the State of Kansas risked losing these federal funds should the EEOC refuse to contract with the KHRC for the investigation of complaints.
“Work is a fundamental part of most Kansans lives.  It’s how we define ourselves and our role in society,” said Senator Haley.  “As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and public affairs counsel to several organizations that either hire or champion the rights of all people, irrespective of individual challenges, I am proud to support a bill that will ensure every Kansan’s right to earn a living without fear of discrimination.”