House Bill 2335, which was signed into law Thursday, will bring Kansas in line with federal ADA standards.
The inequity between federal and state statutes has caused undue confusion among disabled Kansans and their employers. Under current Kansas law, companies with four or more employees must recognize disability rights guidelines. Under federal ADA regulations, however, only companies with 25 or more employees are subjected to disability law.
HB2335 will unify standards for Kansas companies with four to 24 employees, ensuring every Kansan is protected against discrimination in the workplace.
Disparity among state and federal guidelines has also caused confusion among the courts, making it unnecessarily difficult for a disabled Kansan to file a discrimination suit against an employer.
According to the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC), 236 disability employment complaints were filed jointly with the EEOC in fiscal year 2009. Investigation of these cases totaled $129,800, all paid by federal EEOC grant monies. Without passage of HB2335, the State of Kansas risked losing these federal funds should the EEOC refuse to contract with the KHRC for the investigation of complaints.
Clarifying these rules would not only protect every disabled Kansan’s right to file a discrimination complaint, it would secure nearly $130,000 in federal funds.
Work is a fundamental part of most Kansans lives. It’s how we define ourselves and our role in society. I was proud to support a bill that will ensure the right to earn a living without fear of discrimination.”