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The Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) gives civil rights protection to people with disabilities. ADA defines a disability (physical or mental) as substantially limiting one or more major life activities (i.e., walking, hearing, seeing, learning, etc.). ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in the following areas:

Title I: Employment prohibits employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified people with disabilities.

Title II: Public Services include state and local governments, railroads, and other commuter authorities. Public transportation systems must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Title III: Public Accommodations state all new construction, and modifications be accessible to people with disabilities.

Title IV: Telecommunication companies offering telephone service to the public must have relay service for people who use telecommunication devices.

Title V: Miscellaneous includes prohibiting (a) coercing or threatening or (b) retaliating against people with disabilities. It also protects the person aiding someone with disabilities in asserting their rights under the ADA.

Other Important Areas Relating to Employment

ADA applies to employers with fifteen or more employees. Personnel procedures must allow people with disabilities to apply, and be hired, advanced or discharged based on the person, not the disability. People with disabilities, just like all employees, should be paid based on their qualifications. They should receive the same training and benefits as other employees. Medical examinations must be job related and consistent with the employer's business needs. ADA does not cover employees or applicants using illegal drugs.

Title III: Public Accommodations apply to all business, regardless of the number of employees.

The ADA and Me (doc) (PDF) is a booklet designed for youth that has more information on how it applies.