On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. A federal civil rights law, the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in many aspects of public life and everyday activities. Employers, state and local governments, businesses that are open to the public, commercial sites, transportation providers, and telecommunication companies must follow the mandates of this legislation. As the 33rd anniversary of this landmark passage is celebrated this coming week, its foundations and continuing significance are being highlighted through communications and events throughout the nation.
About the Legislation: Sections of the ADA
The ADA is separated into five different sections, called titles. Each sets out requirements for different types of organizations. These include:
–Title I: Employment: Employers with 15 or more employees must provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from opportunities available to others, such as recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, financial compensation, and social activities.
– Title II A: State and Local Government Services: All services, programs, and activities, such as education, transportation, health care, and voting, to name a few, must provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from them.
– Title II B: Public Transit: All transit systems must provide equal opportunity to all users. The ADA also covers private transit systems, if they are open to the public.
– Title III: Businesses and Nonprofits that are Open to the Public: These organizations must provide those with disabilities an equal opportunity to access the products and services they offer. For example, the ADA Guide for Places of Lodging: Serving Guests Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision states that “Places of lodging, like other places of public accommodation, must provide their services to the public in a way that gives people who are blind or who have low vision a full and equal opportunity to enjoy the services that are provided to others.”
– Title IV: Telecommunications: Telephone companies must provide services so that callers with hearing and speech disabilities can communicate.
– Title V: Other Important Requirements: This section covers other requirements for how to implement the law. Examples include “prohibiting retaliation against a person who has asserted their rights under that ADA,” stating that an individual with a disability does not have to accept an aid or accommodation if they do not want to, and mandating that federal agencies issue guidance explaining the law.
For more information about the legislation and its requirements, read the ADA.gov webpage providing an Introduction to the Americans with Disabilities Act.