Legal Issue Analysis of Diversity and Disabilities

The government has several legal safeguards regarding diversity. In order for people of many different diversities to get treated properly and receive the same rights there are safeguard legislation in place. This paper will summarize an article regarding the diversity issue of disabilities, share my personal thoughts regarding the treatment of mentally disables, discuss general challenges with the issue as well as current safeguards and make recommendations to effectively address the treatment of disabled people with mental illness.

Summary of the Article

The U.S. appeals court recently ruled that New York State would have to move over 4 thousand mentally disabled people from housing facilities to their own homes because of the American’s with Disabilities Act (Sulzberger, 2010). These disabled people were being kept away from outside contact and living in “warehouse link conditions” (Sulzberger, 2010, pp.3). The court is requiring that these disabled people be provided with independent housing and specialized care. Despite the ruling the plan has yet to get put into action.

New York State is appealing this ruling because they claim that the cost of this type of housing is too high (Sulzberger, 2010). Their appeal caused a judge to put a stay on the ruling so that no action was taken, but it was lifted. This case has been litigated for over 7 years (Sulzberger, 2010). Now New York State must comply with the court ruling quickly and provide disabled people with the rights they deserve.

Personal Thoughts

People with disabilities have the right to live independently and they should be provided with the help they need; if they are secluded and completely dependant it will deter their ability to get better. This is important because mentally ill people should not be treated derogatorily (Kottak & Kozaitis, 1999). If they can take care of themselves they should be allowed to. They may need assistance, but they should not be locked away from the world.

Keeping people with mental illness away from the outside world will not help their illness. Allowing these people to take care of themselves will empower them. It will also provide them with the room to grow and get better. Mentally ill people should be given the opportunity to take care of themselves in order to better handle and improve their conditions even if it is costly.

General Challenges

There are general challenges of dealing with this type of diversity issue in my place of work such as cost and stakeholders. I work with a disabled person. She has some health conditions that require her to take breaks. The American’s with Disabilities Act requires that she be allowed to do this (FAADA). In order to deal with this issue the challenge of cost must be taken into consideration. Making up for the time and money spent to accommodate her is a challenge companies must face.

Another challenge caused by this diversity is stakeholder’s morale and happiness. Other employees are often upset or angered by the disabled lady. They believe she is favored over the other employees and receives benefits. This challenge must be faced because the American’s with Disabilities Act is a safeguard against discrimination.

Current Safeguards

The legal issue of the discrimination and unfair treatment of mentally disabled people is safeguarded by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act has caused many different areas of government to be responsible for upholding the rights of disabled people (Kottak & Kozaitis, 1999). It protects people with disabilities in the workforce during “job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment” (FAADA). It also protects and provides disabled people with aid in areas of housing, healthcare, and education (Kottak & Kozaitis, 1999). This current safeguard allows disabled people to receive the rights they deserve, but there are several more ways that this issue can be addressed.


In order to improve the treatment of disabled people and guarantee their basic human rights understanding of this diversity and other incentives are needed. A huge deterrent to resolving the issues faced by people with mental illness and other disabilities is the lack of understanding about their form of diversity. Many people do not commonly relate to disabled people and do not realize that disabilities are just a form of diversity. Generating understanding through workshops and training is a positive recommendation for dealing with this issue.

Another recommendation for dealing with this issue is incentives. There are already several incentives for hiring disabled people (FAADA). Incentives for promoting diversity and acceptance of diversity would also be beneficial. A positive recommendation is to reward New York State with incentives for helping these disabled people.


The Americans with Disabilities Act has helped mental ill people receive the rights they deserve. This safeguard of diversity is proven by the appeals court ruling to provide mentally ill people with independent housing. It is important for diversity in the form of disabilities to be recognized and understood, and incentives will help provide people with motivation needed to understand diversity.


Kottak, C. P., & Kozaitis, K. A. (1999). On Being Different: Diversity and Multiculturalism in the North American Mainstream (2nd ed.). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Sulzberger, A. (2010, June 25). U.S. Appeals Court Lifts Stay on Relocating Mentally Ill. The New York Times, p. A27.

Facts About the Americans with Disabilities Act. (n.d.). US EEOC Home Page. Retrieved June 24, 2010, from