Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

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42 USC §§ 12101 et seq.

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, public and private transportation, and telecommunications. It also applies to the United States Congress.  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.

  • Title I - Employment (42 USC §§ 12111-12117; 29 CFR Parts 1630, 1602)
  • Title II - State and Local Government - Part A (state and local government programs, services, and  activities) (42 USC §§ 12131-12134; 28 CFR Part 35)
  • Title II - Public Transportation - Part B (public transportation) (42 USC §§ 12141-12165; 49 CFR  Parts 37, 38)
  • Title III (public accommodations, commercial facilities, private transportation services, and private testing entities and services operated by private entities) (42 USC §§
    12181-12189; 28 CFR Part 36)
  • Title IV (telecommunications for hearing and speech-impaired individuals; closed-captioning of public service announcements) (47 USC § 225, 611; 47 CFR 64.601 et seq.)

Title I - Employment

42 USC §§ 12111-12117
29 CFR Parts 1630, 1602

Enforcing Agencies:
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; U.S. Department of Justice (state or local governments).

Summary:
Title I requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment-related opportunities available to others. For example, it prohibits discrimination in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment. It restricts questions that can be asked about an applicant's disability before a job offer is made, and it requires that employers make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in undue hardship. Religious entities with 15 or more employees are covered under Title I.

Technical Assistance:

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Title II - State and Local Government - Part A (state and local government programs, services, and activities)

42 USC §§ 12131-12134
28 CFR Part 35

Enforcing Agency:
Department of Justice

Summary:
Title II covers all programs, services, and activities of state and local governments regardless of the government entity's size or receipt of Federal funding. Title II requires that state and local governments give people with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from all of their programs, services, and activities (e.g. emergency programs, public education, employment, transportation, recreation, health care, social services, courts, voting, and town meetings).

All state and local governments are required to follow specific architectural standards in the new construction and alteration of their buildings. They also must provide access to programs, services, and activities housed in pre-ADA buildings, and ensure effective communication for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, are blind or have low vision, or have speech or other communication disabilities. Public entities are not required to take actions that would result in undue financial and administrative burdens. They are required to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination, unless they can demonstrate that doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity being provided.

Technical Assistance:
Visit www.ADA.gov or call 1-800-514-0301 (voice) or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY) for resources, including:

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Title II - Public Transportation - Part B (public transportation)

42 USC §§ 12141-12165
49 CFR  Parts 37, 38

Enforcing Agency:
Department of Transportation

Summary:
The transportation provisions of Title II cover public transportation services, such as city buses and public rail transit (e.g. subways, commuter rails, Amtrak). Public transportation authorities may not discriminate against people with disabilities in the provision of their services. They must comply with requirements for accessibility in newly purchased vehicles, make good faith efforts to purchase or lease accessible used buses, remanufacture buses in an accessible manner, and, unless it would result in an undue burden, provide paratransit where they operate fixed-route bus or rail systems. Paratransit is a service in which individuals who are unable to independently use the regular transit system (because of a physical or mental impairment) are picked up and dropped off at their destinations.

Technical Assistance:

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Title III (public accommodations, commercial facilities, private transportation services, and private testing entities and services operated by private entities)

42 USC §§ 12181-12189
28 CFR Part 36

Enforcing Agency:
Department of Justice

Summary:
Title III covers businesses and nonprofit service providers that are public accommodations, privately operated entities offering certain types of courses and examinations, privately operated transportation, and commercial facilities. Public accommodations are private entities who own, lease, lease to, or operate facilities such as restaurants, retail stores, hotels, movie theaters, private schools, convention centers, doctors' offices, homeless shelters, transportation depots, zoos, funeral homes, day care centers, and recreation facilities including sports stadiums and fitness clubs. Transportation services provided by private entities are also covered by Title III.

Public accommodations must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment. They also must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings; reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures; effective communication with people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, are blind or have low vision, or have speech or other communication disabilities; and other access requirements. Additionally, public accommodations must remove barriers in pre-ADA buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense, given the public accommodation's resources.

Technical Assistance:
Visit www.ADA.gov or call 1-800-514-0301 (voice or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY) for resources including:

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Title IV (telecommunications for hearing and speech-impaired individuals; closed-captioning of public service announcements)

47 USC § 225, 611
47 CFR 64.601 et seq.

Enforcing Agency:
Federal Communications Commission

Summary:
Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) shall be available to hearing and speech-impaired individuals to the fullest extent possible and the most efficient manner.  There are several different forms of TRS available and all states have intrastate certified TRS programs.  Nationwide, state TRS providers can be reached by dialing 7-1-1. 

Any television public announcement which is produced or funded in whole or in part by the Federal government shall include closed-captioning of the verbal content of such announcement.

Technical Assistance:

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Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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