The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
On July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (P.L. 100-336). It is generally agreed that this legislation marks the most significant expansion of U.S. civil rights laws in more than 25 years. The ADA has a profound impact on individuals with disabilities, those who work with these individuals, and all members of our society. The ADA provides sweeping protection against discrimination for the more than 40 million Americans with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public services, and public accommodations. It also requires that new buses and trains be accessible to people with disabilities, and that telecommunication companies operate relay systems that allow individuals with speech and hearing impairments to use telephones. As stated in the Act, the purposes of this law are to:
There are several parts or "titles" in the ADA. Title I of the act addresses employment discrimination. This title prohibits employers, employment agencies, or labor organizations from discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability in job application procedures, in hiring, advancing, training, compensating and discharging employees, as well as in other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. Title II prohibits a qualified person with a disability from being excluded or denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity. It applies to all state and local governments, departments, and agencies. Title II also clarifies the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as it relates to public transportation systems that receive federal funds. This requirement makes it easier for individuals with disabilities to have access to public transportation.
Title III forbids discrimination on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages of public accommodations. Public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants, theaters, convention centers, retail sales firms, service establishments, depots, museums, parks, schools, social service centers, and recreation centers may not discriminate on the basis of disability. Physical barriers in existing facilities must be removed, if removal is readily achievable. If not, alternative methods of providing the services must be offered, if they are readily achievable. All new construction in public accommodations must be accessible.Title IV requires the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that interstate and intrastate telecommunication relay services are available to the extent possible and in the most efficient manner to individuals with speech and hearing impairments. It also requires that television public service announcements funded by the federal government be closed-captioned.
All provisions of the ADA may be enforced by civil action brought by any person who is subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability. In addition, the law may be enforced by the U.S. Attorney General who is empowered to investigate alleged violations of the Act. In a civil action brought by the Attorney General, a court may assess a civil penalty not exceeding $50,000 for the first violation and $100,000 for any subsequent violation. For additional information, please contact:
To learn more about Assistive Technology and AzTAP, please contact:Jill Oberstein, Project Director
AzTAP provides support to five Regional Resource Centers (RRCs) in Arizona. These RRCs provide direct assistive technology services to persons with disabilities, and are available to help consumers select the most appropriate devices, and advocate for themselves in order to acquire funding for devices and services.
This document was developed by the Arizona Technology Access Program. Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) Grant #H224A40002. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of NIDRR or the U.S. Department of Education, and do not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.