Introduction to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Introduction to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Introduction to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted by Ronald J. Fichera Apr 02, 2023

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, just as other civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.

The ADA Protects People with Disabilities

A person with a disability is someone who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  • has a history or record of such an impairment (such as cancer that is in remission), or
  • is perceived by others as having such an impairment (such as a person who has scars from a severe burn).

If a person falls into any of these categories, the ADA protects them. Because the ADA is a law, and not a benefit program, you do not need to apply for coverage.

Please go here for the full explanation of the ADA:

Examples of Disabilities

There is a wide variety of disabilities, and the ADA regulations do not list all of them. Some disabilities are visible and some are not. Some examples of disabilities include:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • HIV
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deafness or hearing loss
  • Blindness or low vision
  • Epilepsy
  • Mobility disabilities such as those requiring the use of a wheelchair, walker, or cane
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Traumatic brain injury

The ADA covers many other disabilities not listed here.

The ADA Prohibits Disability Discrimination in Many Areas of Life

To prevent discrimination against people with disabilities, the ADA sets out requirements that apply to many of the situations you encounter in everyday life. Employers, state and local governments, businesses that are open to the public, commercial facilities, transportation providers, and telecommunication companies all have to follow the requirements of the ADA.

The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Under the ADA, it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their disability.

For example, a fitness center could not exclude a person who uses a wheelchair from a workout class because they cannot do all of the exercises in the same way.

However, a local rec center might only be open to people who live in the surrounding zip code. If the rec center refused access to a person with epilepsy because that person lived in a different zip code, that would not be a violation of the ADA because the rec center would not be discriminating on the basis of the person's disability.

The ADA is broken up into five different sections, which are called titles. Different titles set out the requirements for different kinds of organizations. For example, Title I of the ADA covers requirements for employers, and Title II covers requirements for state and local governments. You can find the relevant title of the ADA noted next to each type of organization below.

Other Disability Rights Laws

Although the ADA applies to many areas of life, it does not cover everything. In some situations, disability discrimination is prohibited by laws other than the ADA.

While the ADA applies to certain types of housing (e.g., housing at private and public universities and public housing programs), the Fair Housing Act applies to many types of housing, both public and privately owned, including housing covered by the ADA.

Disability discrimination during air travel is prohibited by the Air Carriers Access Act.

Religious organizations are exempt from the requirements of Title III of the ADA. For information about how the ADA's employment obligations apply to religious entities, visit the EEOC's website. Additionally, religious groups or organizations may still have to comply with state/local building codes or other laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability.

Federal Agencies' Roles

Many federal agencies are responsible for enforcing the ADA and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. These agencies receive complaints, conduct investigations, and issue regulations and guidance to explain the law.

Learn more about these agencies and the laws that they implement:

Our firm is committed to delivering efficient and cost-effective legal services focusing on communication, responsiveness, and attention to detail, but we are not experts in website law or ADA issues. We are presenting this article as a public service for our clients. For more information about our services, contact us today!

This article is brought to you by the Ronald J. Fichera Law  Firm, where our mission is to provide trusted, professional legal services and strategic advice to assist our clients in their personal and business matters.

If you are sued for a violation of the ADA or The Unruh Act, immediately contact an attorney with experience defending these cases to help you develop the right strategy for your situation—whether that is fighting the case or an early settlement, which can almost often be accomplished. Our Law Firm can assist you in finding the right attorney for your situation and can help you navigate this complex landscape.

Please seek professional tax services for more information and advice that will apply to your specific tax situation.

Content in this material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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