Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, and telecommunications have imposed staggering economic and social costs on American society and have undermined our well-intentioned efforts to educate, rehabilitate, and employ individuals with disabilities. By breaking down these barriers, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will enable society to benefit from the skills and talents of individuals with disabilities, will allow us all to gain from their increased purchasing power and ability to use it, and will lead to fuller, more productive lives for all Americans.
The Americans with Disabilities Act 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 guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.
Fair, swift, and effective enforcement of this landmark civil rights legislation is a high priority of the Federal Government.
You can visit the ADA website at www.ada.gov.
II. What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (the ADA), a federal law enacted in 1990, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against a person:
- who has a severe disability,
- and -
- who is qualified for his or her job, or for the job he or she is applying for,
- and -
- who is able to perform the specified duties of the job with or without "reasonable accommodations."
What is the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008?
In 2008, Congress passed a new law, the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). Congress believed that, over the years since the ADA became law, court decisions had created a definition of "disability" that was much more narrow than was intended under the ADA originally. The ADAAA's purpose was to clarify the meaning of "disability" so that more people would have an opportunity to present their claims of discrimination for decision.
We will cover the changes made by the ADAAA in Do I Have a “Disability” Under the ADA?
The ADA is divided into five sections, or "titles." These five titles address discrimination in the following areas:
- Title I - Employment
- Title II - Public Entities (state and local government including public transportation)
- Title III - Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities
- Title IV - Telecommunications
- Title V - Miscellaneous Provisions
Title I of the ADA
This course focuses on Title I of the ADA: discrimination against persons with disabilities by private employers.
The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. It applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure, layoff, leave, fringe benefits, and all other employment-related activities.
Which employers are covered by the ADA?
The ADA says that discrimination against people with disabilities is illegal if practiced by:
- private employers,
- state and local governments,
- employment agencies,
- labor organizations, and
- labor-management committees.
Under federal law, all employers with 15 or more employees must follow the ADA.
Under Connecticut law, all employers with more than 3 employees must follow these rules.
All workers are protected by the law, whether or not they are US citizens.
The United States
Equal Opportunities Commission (EEOC) enforces Title I of the ADA. The EEOC also oversees and coordinates all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies.
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