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The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (
Disability is defined by the
On September 25, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). This was intended to give broader protections for disabled workers and "turn back the clock" on court rulings which Congress deemed too restrictive. The ADAAA includes a list of major life activities.
Title I - Employment
Discrimination may include, among other things, limiting or classifying a job applicant or employee in an adverse way, denying employment opportunities to people who truly qualify, or not making reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of disabled employees, not advancing employees with disabilities in the business, and/or not providing needed accommodations in training. Employers can use medical entrance examinations for applicants, after making the job offer, only if all applicants (regardless of disability) must take it and it is treated as a confidential medical record. Qualified individuals do not include any employee or applicant who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs when that usage is the basis for the employer's actions.
Part of Title I was found unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett as violating the sovereign immunity rights of the several states as specified by the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. The provision allowing private suits against states for money damages was invalidated.
Title II - Public Entities (and public transportation)
Title II prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the local (i.e. school district, municipal, city, county) and state level. Public entities must comply with Title II regulations by the U.S. Department of Justice. These regulations cover access to all programs and services offered by the entity. Access includes physical access described in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and programmatic access that might be obstructed by discriminatory policies or procedures of the entity.
Title II also applies to public transportation provided by public entities through regulations by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It includes the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, along with all other commuter authorities. This section requires the provision of paratransit services by public entities that provide fixed route services.
Title III - Public Accommodations (and Commercial Facilities)
Under Title III, no individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability with regards to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation. "Public accommodations" include most places of lodging (such as inns and hotels), recreation, transportation, education, and dining, along with stores, care providers, and places of public displays, among other things.
Under Title III of the ADA, all "new construction" (construction, modification or alterations) after the effective date of the ADA (approximately July 1992) must be fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines ("ADAAG") found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 28 C.F.R., Part 36, Appendix "A."
III also has application to existing facilities. One of the definitions of
"discrimination" under Title III of the
The statutory definition of "readily achievable" calls for a balancing test between the cost of the proposed "fix" and the wherewithal of the business and/or owners of the business. Thus, what might be "readily achievable" for a sophisticated and financially capable corporation might not be readily achievable for a small or local business.
There are exceptions to this title; many private clubs and religious organizations may not be bound by Title III. With regard to historic properties (those properties that are listed or that are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or properties designated as historic under State or local law), those facilities must still comply with the provisions of Title III of the ADA to the "maximum extent feasible" but if following the usual standards would "threaten to destroy the historic significance of a feature of the building" then alternative standards may be used.
Nonetheless, as Frank Bowe predicted when he testified as the lead witness on Title III in the Senate hearings leading up to enactment, the fact that Title III calls for accessibility in, and alterations to, many thousands of stores, restaurants, hotels, etc., in many thousands of communities across the U.S. means that this Title probably has had more effect on the lives of more Americans with disabilities than any other ADA title.
Title IV - Telecommunications
IV of the
Title IV took effect in the early 1990s, it led to installation of public
Teletypewriter (TTY) machines and other TDDs (Telecommunications Device for the
Deaf). Title IV also led to creation, in all 50 States and the
Title V - Miscellaneous Provisions
V includes technical provisions. It discusses, for example, the fact that
nothing in the
The prohibition against retaliation or coercion applies broadly to any individual or entity that seeks to prevent an individual from exercising his or her rights or to retaliate against him or her for having exercised those rights . . . Any form of retaliation or coercion, including threats, intimidation, or interference, is prohibited if it is intended to interfere.
Major life activities
In 2008, effective January 1, 2009, the ADAAA broadened the interpretations and added to the ADA examples of "major life activities" including, but not limited to, "caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working" as well as the operation of several specified "major bodily functions." The Act overturns a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court case which held that an employee was not disabled if the impairment could be corrected by mitigating measures; it specifically provides that such impairment must be determined without considering such ameliorative measures. Another court restriction overturned is the interpretation that an impairment that substantially limits one major life activity must also limit others to be considered a disability.
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