Disabilities lawIf you haven't already encountered it as...


July 13, 1992

Disabilities law

If you haven't already encountered it as an employer, you may face a decision like this one soon: Two job candidates qualify for one position. But one candidate, who has a disability, cannot perform the tasks without some modifications of the work area that would cost money.

Whom would you hire?

If you chose the non-disabled candidate for no other reason but convenience and cost, you may be liable in court come July 26. That's when employment provisions of the new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) take effect for all businesses with 25 or more employees. Businesses with 15 or more must comply by July 26, 1994.

The ADA prohibits denying a job or promotion to someone simply because of a disability and requires that employers make the workplace accessible. Information on the ADA is available from the Disabilities Rights Education and Defense Fund at 1-800-466-4232.

Better decisions

What can you do to improve the quality of your decisions?

1. Confirm that there is something important to make a decision about. Acting on something nobody cares about makes you look superficial.

2. Define the problem as the gap between "ought" and "is."

3. Develop possible courses of action.

4. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each course.

5. Select the best course based on the evaluation.

6. Implement the decision. This is where many people slip up.

7. Follow up to see if the decision was effective.

Finding a job

With a little perseverance and creative thinking, experts say it is possible for recent graduates to find employment, even in today's competitive job market.

"It's necessary to treat looking for a full-time job as a full-time job," said Kathy Masera, editor of the California Job Journal. This may include volunteering or doing an unpaid internship where new graduates can make valuable contacts in a field of interest.

"Networking is the hidden job market," said Lynne Dotson, a career counselor with the Stanford Career Planning and Placement office. As many as three-fourths of recent graduates from Stanford University land a first job through networking, she said.

Recent graduates must distinguish themselves from the heap of resumes they are up against by knowing a company and emphasizing the skills and qualities that fit a specific position.

One more tip: Send a resume via Federal Express. It's more likely a Fed-Ex envelope will be opened immediately.

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