Americans with Disabilities Act

25th Anniversary!


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed on July 26, 1990.  It was signed into law by President G.W. Bush.  It is a civil rights law that prevents discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of life, including housing, transportation, employment, schools, and in other private and public arenas.  


The ADA has five titles:

Title I: Employment 

This title covers the hiring process, the reasonable accomodation process, and protections on the job from discrimination based on a real or perceived disability.

Title II: local and state governments

Title II ensures that people with disabilties have the same access to buildings, services, and programs as people without disabilities.  This means job programs, courts, police, public transportation, and other services must ensure that people with disabiltiies can access all of the same items that people without disabilities can.  

Title III: Public Accommodations 

This is the title that covers private businesses and other community members (such as nonprofits, clubs, etc).  It sets up a minimum standards for accessibility for alterations to existing facilities and new construction of facilities.  Additionally, businesses are asked to make "reasonable modifications" to their usual ways of doing things, if needed, when working with someone who has a disability, this includes, but isn't limited to making sure folks can navigatge the store, isn't denied services, and can have effective communication with staff.  

Title IV: Telecommunications

This is the title that covers phone services and Internet services and is why we have closed captioning on our television and movies.  

Title V: Miscellaneous

Despite the title of Miscellaneous, it is really quite specific on what is covered by this title.   This title helps tie the entire ADA together, and helps specify how the ADA interacts with other laws and state immunity.  It also prohibits retaliation or coersion.  Finally, it lists what is NOT covered by the ADA (e.g., illeagal drug use).