PISCATAWAY, N.J. (July 20, 2020) – People with disabilities are still “last hired, first fired” in many workplaces and they face continued obstacles to voting, according to professors Douglas Kruse and Lisa Schur of the Program for Disability Research at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.

Kruse and Schur are available for interviews as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act approaches on July 26. They can talk about: 

  • The major achievements of the ADA;
  • How the law hasn’t kept up with the gig economy and the sharing economy;
  • Persistent barriers to employment and voting;
  • Their own personal experiences.

Kruse suffered a spinal cord injury in a collision with a drunk driver a few weeks before the ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990. He now uses a wheelchair. The accident inspired Kruse and Schur, who are married, to dedicate the last three decades to researching disability issues.

Kruse said, “The ADA was a remarkable milestone and there is no doubt that society is more accessible than it used to be. People with disabilities can now go into most stores and restaurants without a problem. Unfortunately, the employment situation is not as positive. The employment rate of people with disabilities has changed very little in the last 30 years. Plenty of research shows that people with disabilities are the ‘last hired, first fired,’ and we see that anew with their larger job losses in the current COVID recession.”

Schur said, “The passage of the ADA showed the power of people with disabilities as a political movement. But people with disabilities continue to face barriers in the most basic form of political participation—voting.  These barriers contribute to a stubborn disability gap in voter turnout. We will not have a fully representative democracy until people with disabilities can exercise their political voice to the same extent as other citizens.”

The Program for Disability Research will announce its report, Projecting the Number of Eligible Voters with Disabilities in the November 2020 Elections, next month.

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The Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) is the world’s leading source of expertise on managing and representing workers, designing effective organizations, and building strong employment relationships.