Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Regional Research Institute

Document Number

Working Paper #2001-3


Regional Research Institute


As U.S. civil rights legislation, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was created to eliminate workplace discrimination on the basis of disability. Using the United States as an example, this research analyzes the potential for disability legislation to laden employers with excessive cost burdens, specifically expenses from additional workplace injuries and illnesses. In addition, this study looks at the likelihood that employers compensate for these costs by cutting workplace sick leave benefits. Prior to the ADA’s implementation, U.S. employers had the fear of incurring excessive cost. The paper successfully counters this fear by looking first at whether the legislation spawned significant increases in the incident rates of occupational injuries and illnesses, and second, whether employers compensated for soaring compliance costs by decreasing paid sick leave benefits.