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Americans with Disabilities Act

So what is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Title I of the ADA makes it unlawful for any employer to discriminate against a qualified applicant or employee because of a disability in any aspect of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.

Subtitle A of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Pub. L. 101-336, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities. Subtitle A protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs or activities of all state and local governments. It extends the prohibition of discrimination in Federally assisted programs established by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to all activities of state and local governments, including those that do not receive Federal financial assistance and incorporates specific prohibitions of discrimination on the basis of disability from Titles I, III and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This rule, therefore, adopts the general prohibitions of discrimination established under Section 504, as well as the requirements for making programs accessible to individuals with disabilities and for providing equally effective communications. It also sets forth standards for what constitutes discrimination on the basis of mental or physical disability, provides a definition of disability and qualifies an individual with a disability and establishes a complaint mechanism for resolving allegations of discrimination.

For additional information on Americans with Disabilities Act please visit:

http://www.ada.gov/

 

Other Resources

What is Prohibited Under Section 504 and the ADA?

Both Section 504 and the ADA prohibit covered entities from discriminating against persons with disabilities in the provision of benefits or services or the conduct of programs or activities on the basis of their disability.

Section 504 applies to programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title II of the ADA covers all of the services, programs, and activities conducted by public entities (state and local governments, departments, agencies, etc.), including licensing.

Who is Protected Under Section 504 and the ADA?

Section 504 and the ADA protect qualified individuals with disabilities. An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment. Major life activities means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. Under Section 504 and the ADA, a person is a qualified individual with a disability if he or she meets the essential requirements for receipt of services or benefits, or participation in the programs or activities of a covered entity. The question of whether a particular condition is a disability within the meaning of Section 504 and the ADA is determined on a case-by-case basis.

What is a “Physical or Mental Impairment?”

Physical or mental impairments include, but are not limited to: visual, speech, and hearing impairments; intellectual disabilities, emotional illness, and specific learning disabilities; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; orthopedic conditions; cancer; heart disease; diabetes; and contagious and non-contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic).

Specific Requirements

Covered entities must not:

  • Establish eligibility criteria for receipt of services or participation in programs or activities that screen out or tend to screen out individuals with disabilities, unless such criteria are necessary to meet the objectives of the program.
  • Provide separate or different benefits, services, or programs to individuals with disabilities, unless it is necessary to ensure that the benefits and services are equally effective.

Covered entities must:

  • Provide services and programs in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.
  • Make reasonable modifications in their policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless it would result in a fundamental alteration in their program or activity.
  • Ensure that buildings are accessible.
  • Provide auxiliary aids to individuals with disabilities, at no additional cost, where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing, vision, or speech impairments, (Auxiliary aids include such services or devices as: qualified interpreters, assistive listening devices for the deaf (TDD’s), videotext displays, readers, taped texts, materials in brail, and large print materials.)

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provides comprehensive civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications.

Who is protected under the ADA?

The ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities. An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. Under the ADA, a qualified individual with a disability is an individual with a disability who meets the essential eligibility requirements for receipt of services or participation in programs or activities. Whether a particular condition constitutes a disability within the meaning of the ADA requires a case-by-case determination. 
Physical or mental impairments include, but are not limited to: visual, speech, and hearing impairments; intellectual disabilities, emotional illness, and specific learning disabilities; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; orthopedic conditions; cancer; heart disease; diabetes; and contagious and non-contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic).

What Is Title II of the ADA?

Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in all programs, activities, and services of public entities. Public entities include state and local governments and their departments and agencies. Title II applies to all activities, services and programs of a public entity.

Specific Requirements

Public entities may not:

  • Refuse to allow a person with a disability to participate in, or benefit from, their services, programs or activities because the person has a disability
  • Apply eligibility criteria for participation in programs, activities and services that screen out or tend to screen out individuals with disabilities, unless they can establish that such criteria are necessary for the provision of services, programs or activities
  • Provide services or benefits to individuals with disabilities through programs that are separate or different, unless the separate programs are necessary to ensure that the benefits and services are equally effective

Public entities must:

  • Provide services, programs and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities
  • Make reasonable modifications in their policies, practices and procedures to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless they can demonstrate that a modification would fundamentally alter the nature of their service, program or activity
  • Ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from services, programs and activities because buildings are inaccessible
  • Provide auxiliary aids to individuals with disabilities, at no additional cost, where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing, vision, or speech impairments. (Auxiliary aids include such services or devices as: qualified interpreters, assistive listening headsets, television captioning and decoders, telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD’s) videotext displays, readers, taped texts, brailed materials, and large print materials.)