A University of California department has an official policy of refusing to hire any disabled person for any of the jobs they offer to students (http://advocate.as.ucsb.edu/disabled_jobs). Under this policy, the University automatically denies employment applications to people they have flagged as disabled. After several emails and in-person meetings with supervisors, the University of California insisted it will stick with its policy because they believe the disabled are less likely to be competent employees. These jobs are extremely simple. For example, one of them (the “proctor” job) merely involves an employee monitoring one or a few students to see if they cheat during an exam. Although some disabilities might make these jobs more difficult, there are numerous disabilities that have absolutely no impact on the performance of these jobs. However, the University of California refuses to consider any disabled person (regardless of which type of disability that person has) to be qualified for these jobs.
This policy means that a disabled veteran who sacrificed his legs for our country would be denied the chance to be considered for an unskilled job because of his sacrifice, and because of his disability. This policy means that a young girl with cancer might have to explain to her family that her own university won’t let her apply for a job simply because she’s sick.
After my emails and meetings, I petitioned a court to stop this discrimination. After the lawsuit was filed, the University quietly suspended the policy but they have asked a court to allow them to reinstate it. Although Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act says that public agencies cannot discriminate against the disabled, the University of California asked the Court to declare the ADA unconstitutional! The University says it should be allowed to ban the over fifty million Americans with a disability from applying for a job, because the disabled “may be less able, due to their disabilities, to perform the essential function” of these jobs (Alexander Stern v. Regents of the University of California).
If you walk into a room with five random strangers, one of them will have a disability. This policy applies to that person. Maybe it applies to you. This policy would refuse an employment application to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alexander Graham Bell, Representative Barbara Jordan, and Thomas Edison, because these disabled Americans were, according to the University of California, presumptively incompetent.
If you believe that we need to move beyond these antiquated prejudices and allow our fellow Americans, including the disabled ones, to be able apply for these and other jobs, please sign this petition right now.
Update from 5/7/2012: Today the University has stated it plans to argue to the Court that it is a "business necessity" to ban the disabled from these jobs. In light of this shocking development, your support and signature are as important as ever.