Disability ActZoecon Corp. in Dallas is different from...


September 30, 1991

Disability Act

Zoecon Corp. in Dallas is different from most other American businesses.

The agrichemical company, a subsidiary of Sandoz, a Swiss-owned conglomerate, is "getting into compliance" with the federal employment regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act, which takes effect in July 1992, guarantees the civil rights of 43 million disabled Americans.

According to the President's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities, two-thirds of disabled people are unemployed, although most want to work. The new law prohibits discrimination against qualified people with disabilities in regard to job-application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, pay and other workplace issues.

Zoecon, which has 350 employees worldwide, began the process in January 1990.

"We . . . made a survey of all policies, procedures, job classifications and descriptions to make sure we comply," said Gary Siegel, Zoecon's human resources director.

Zoecon is ahead of the pack. Though employers are aware the new act will require dramatic changes, most are moving slowly.

"Little is happening right now compared to what we hope will be happening in the future, but employers are beginning to realize next July is coming, and there is a concerted request for technical assistance," said Jane West, a Chevy Chase consultant on disability policies and editor of the book, "The Americans with Disabilities Act: From Policy to Practice."

Female risks

Women face many unknown health risks in the workplace, writes Randy Rabinowitz in "Is Your Job Making You Sick?" a booklet published by the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW).

Among the "main dangers," according to the New York-based Coalition of Labor Union Women, are:

* Reproductive health: Toxic substances may damage a woman's ability to give birth to healthy children.

* Indoor air quality: Some factories and offices have poor circulation, which can cause colds, headaches, muscle pain, fatigue and nausea.

* Video display terminals: Primarily operated by women, VDTs can cause eyestrain, muscle fatigue, back strain, repetitive trauma injuries, stress, reproductive problems and dizziness.

"Is Your Job Making You Sick?" is available for $4 a copy or $3 each for orders of 20 or more. Send check or money order to Coalition of Labor Union Women, 15 Union Square, New York, N.Y. 10003.

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