Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion. It works to break down barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services and telecommunications for people with disabilities.

Title I of the ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment-related opportunities available to others. It prohibits discrimination in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities and other privileges of employment and restricts questions that can be asked about an applicant’s disability before a job offer is made. In addition, it requires that employers make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in undue hardship.

Title II covers all activities of state and local governments regardless of the government entity’s size or receipt of federal funding. Title II requires that state and local governments give people with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from all of their programs, services and activities (e.g. public education, employment, transportation, recreation, health care, social services, courts, voting and town meetings).

Title II also states that public transportation services, such as city buses and public rail transit cannot discriminate against people with disabilities when providing their services, and must comply with requirements for accessibility in newly purchased vehicles, make good faith efforts to purchase or lease accessible used buses, remanufacture buses in an accessible manner and, unless it would result in an undue burden, provide paratransit where they operate fixed-route bus or rail systems. Paratransit is a service where individuals who are unable to use the regular transit system independently (because of a physical or mental impairment) are picked up and dropped off at their destinations. Questions and complaints about public transportation should be directed to the Federal Transit Administration.

Title III covers businesses and non-profit service providers that are public accommodations, privately operated entities offering certain types of courses and examinations, privately operated transportation and commercial facilities. Public accommodations are private entities who own, lease, lease to or operate facilities such as restaurants, retail stores, hotels, movie theaters, doctors’ offices, zoos, day care centers and recreation facilities including sports stadiums and fitness clubs. Transportation services provided by private entities are also covered by title III.

Title IV addresses telephone and television access for people with hearing and speech disabilities. It requires telephone companies to establish interstate and intrastate telecommunications relay services (TRS) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TRS enables callers with hearing and speech disabilities who use telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDDs), which are also known as teletypewriters (TTYs), and callers who use voice telephones to communicate with each other through a third party communications assistant. Title IV also requires closed captioning of federally funded public service announcements.

The ADA Amendments Act clarifies and reiterates who is covered by the law’s civil rights protections. More information about the ADA Amendments Act can be found on the Access Board’s Web site.

The latest information about the ADA can be found on the Department of Justice’s Web site ADA.gov. Additional information can be found on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Web site.

For help with questions about your rights under the ADA, contact the ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (1-800-514-0383 TTY). Regional ADA Centers (also known as Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers or DBTACs) provide technical assistance and answer questions related to the ADA.

The Department of Justice’s ADA Mediation Program helps solve ADA disputes through alternative means of dispute resolution, including mediation.

The Department of Justice also offers assistance to businesses, including small businesses, to help them comply with the ADA.


This excerpt via Disability.gov. This information and more can be found at Disability.gov website.

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