Learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and disability -related topics through Frequently Asked Questions on the ADA, various Events & Training, and Publications & Resources from the ADA National Network.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is a civil rights law that protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination and provides for equal access and opportunity. Former President George Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990.
The ADA applies to situations in these five areas:
The ADA prohibits discrimination against any qualified individual with a disability. Specifically, the ADA protects three categories of individuals:
The ADA does not include a list of covered disabilities under the law. Therefore, to determine if you are covered under the law, you need to determine if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.
The definition of disability does not include simple physical characteristics, common personality traits, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantages.
The ADA also excludes coverage for individuals who currently use illegal drugs, certain sexual disorders and preferences, and compulsive gambling, kleptomania, and pyromania.
Private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions, and joint labor-management committees must comply with Title I of the ADA. The ADA calls these "covered entities." The term employer includes persons who are "agents" of the employer, such as managers, supervisors, and foremen, or others who act for the employer, such as temporary employment agencies and agencies used to conduct background checks on candidates. Therefore, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the actions of these agents do not violate the ADA Private employers with 15 or more employees, including part-time employees, working for them for 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, must comply with the ADA.
State and local governments, regardless of the number of employees, are covered by the employment nondiscrimination requirements under Title II of the ADA.
Example: A church organization could require that its employees be members of its religion. However, it could not discriminate in employment on the basis of disability against members of its religion.
The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate in all employment practices such as: recruitment, hiring, promotion, training, lay-off, pay, firing, job assignments, benefits, leave and all other employment-related activities.
Covered employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified persons with disabilities so they may have an employment opportunity equal to that available to individuals without disabilities.
In order to be protected by the ADA, an individual with a disability must be qualified to perform the essential functions of the job; these are the basic job duties that an employee must be able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation. Collectively, this means that the applicant or employee must:
It is a violation of the ADA to fail to provide reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of your business.
Employers are not required to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation, nor is an employer obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.
The ADA does not interfere with your right to hire the best qualified applicant. Nor does the ADA impose any affirmative action obligations. The ADA simply prohibits you from discriminating against a qualified applicant or employee because of her or his disability.
In identifying an essential function to determine if an individual with a disability is qualified, you should focus on the purpose of the function and the result to be accomplished, rather than the manner in which the function presently is performed.
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job, an employment practice, or the work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to have an equal employment opportunity. Reasonable accommodation allows an individual to overcome a barrier in the work environment that will allow the individual with a disability to function effectively as an employee or as a potential employee.
Examples of reasonable accommodation include, but are not limited to:
The ADA National Network consists of ten (10) regional centers funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) under the U.S. Department of Education.
The ADA National Network, formerly known as DBTAC (Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center), is the leader in providing information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), tailored to meet your needs. Its mission is to:
The ADA National Network, consisting of ten (10) regional centers, is the leader in providing information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), tailored to meet the needs of business, government and individuals at local, regional and national levels, and offers the following core services:
If you have questions, need resources or want training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), contact your ADA Center for information, guidance, events, and various materials and online tools to make your efforts easier, as well as help you brainstorm and develop solutions for your customers.
Call National Toll-free Hotline: 1-800-4ADA [voice/tty] (1-800-949-4232) or contact your regional ADA Center.
All calls and contacts are strictly confidential. Highly trained specialists are available to answer your questions about the ADA, including advice and information on what is required, who is covered, and how to work through ADA-related questions.
ADA National Network
Information, Guidance and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act
Funded through the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).
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