The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A Message from Patrick Reilly

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to prohibit discrimination against a qualified individual on the basis of disability, and it applies to employers having 15 or more employees. It also requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified applicant or employee with a disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodations would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. There are many intricacies to the ADA which cannot be covered in this blog. However, a few definitions are appropriate.

A disability is defined as  a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. The regulations implementing the ADA do not provide a per se list of impairments, although they do provide specific exclusions for personality traits, economic, cultural or environmental traits or stress and certain conditions and practices. The regulations do identify certain conditions that by their very nature will, in virtually all cases, result in a determination of disability under the ADA because they pose substantial limitations in a major life activity. They include, without limitation, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cerebral palsy and others.

Major life activities include such things as caring for oneself, walking, hearing, learning, seeing, breathing and concentrating, the latter being established in Jane Gagliardo’s case. Whether or not working is a major life activity is determined on a case by case basis, but typically requires a limitation on the ability to perform a class of jobs or broad range of jobs in various classes.

Employees or applicants for a position should make their employer/prospective employer aware of any impairments they believe might affect their ability to perform an essential function of their job. This is particularly so if there is a reasonable accommodation that would enable the employee to perform that task. Likewise, employers should endeavor to determine the extent of any possible impairment, and engage in a meaningful determination of whether or not there is a reasonable accommodation which can be granted without undue hardship. Because of the intricacies of the ADA, and the regulations, it is always a good idea for both the employer and employee to discuss any questions or issues regarding an impaired employee with the Human Relations expert or an attorney.

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Listen to my Dr. Pat Show Radio Appearance

I recently had the great pleasure to be a guest on the Dr. Pat Show and talk about Call To Witness. They were kind enough to post an audio stream recording of the interview, as well as, a podcast MP3 to download and listen to offline. Both are available here→

I would love to hear from you with your comments and thoughts regarding the interview. Sherry

New Media Events

We are very pleased to be making a media tour to talk more about Call To Witness and Jane’s story.

Here’s what is planned so far…

WROQ-FM “JOHN BOY & BILLY BIG SHOW” (GREENVILLE, SC/ASHVILLE, NC) – The producer scheduled a live, 30-minute telephone interview with Sherry for May 6 at 9 a.m. EST. WROQ-FM is a 100,000-watt commercial station broadcasting to Greenville, SC and Ashville, NC areas. This public affairs show also airs on WTPT-FM which is a 93,000-watt station.

POCONO RECORD (STROUDSBURG, PA) – A writer for this daily newspaper confirmed that he has interest in scheduling an interview with Jane and Sherry regarding the new book. He’d like to set something up between 8:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST on April 29 or 30. We are in the process of scheduling this interview. This paper is a leading source of information in the Pocono Mountain area in Pennsylvania covering local, national and international news. Circulation: 18,858. Continue reading

Refusing to Give Away My Power

A message from Jane Gagliardo

It happened when I had to pick up my sneakers from a shop on Main Street in Stroudsburg.  The owner and I started talking.  She told me that she wasn’t going to have a booking signing, although she had promised to do so.  The pharmaceutical company that I took to court for the injustice done to me was once again impacting my life.

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Writing Call to Witness

Call to Witness, a legal term, is a story that cries out to all of us.

I say this for a couple of reasons. It cries out because in one sense it forces all of us to live through an ordeal that we only want to live out on the page, not in real life. And yet, Jane Gagliardo’s story is empowering to anyone who reads it. The reader witnesses the ways life often “disables” all of us, and the essential intentionality required for a person not to be defined by one’s past, by others, or by any diagnosis or disability.

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