Description of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)∗
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA; Pub L. No. 101-336) is a federal anti-discrimination statute designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those protections provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment (Title I), state and local government services (Title II), public accommodations (Title III), telecommunications (Title IV), and transportation (Title V). The ADA was later amended (effective January 1, 2009) by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Revised ADA regulations implementing Titles II and III are earmarked to take effect on March 15, 2011, including revisions to the ADA Standards for Accessibility Designs. They can be accessed via the ADA Home Page listed below.
Conditions of Applicability
To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability.
An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.
The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.
Summary Description of the ADA
TABLE 2.1Overview of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) |Favorite Table|Download (.pdf) TABLE 2.1 Overview of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
|Sections ||Overview of Regulations |
|Title I: Employment ||Applies to private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor organizations. Prohibits employers from discriminating against "a qualified individual with a disability" for application, hiring, advancements, and discharge. Employers are required to make "reasonable accommodations" to the known physical or mental limitation of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an "undue hardship." |
|Title II: Public Services ||Prohibits discrimination against or excluding qualified individuals with disabilities from participating in services, programs, or activities of a "public entity" (any state or local government department, agency, and transportation authority). |
|Title III: Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities ||Prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation requiring that these be offered "in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual," except when the individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. |
|Title IV: Telecommunications ||Requires that telephone companies provide services enabling hearing-impaired individuals to communicate with hearing individuals through the use of telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD) or other nonvoice terminal devices. |