Celebrate the ADA!
Thirty three years ago on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law signed by President George H.W. Bush. ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life such as jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into five titles that relate to different areas of public life.
Title 1 – Employment: this title is designed to help people with disabilities access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to people without disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees upon request.
Title 2 – State and Local Government: this title prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by “public entities,” which are programs, services, and activities provided or made available by state and local government. The public entity must make sure its programs, services, and activities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. For example, this might include public bus service, parks, public schools, and universities.
Title 3 – Public Accommodations: this title prohibits places of public accommodation from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Public accommodations include privately owned, leased or operated facilities like hotels, restaurants, retail merchants, doctor’s offices, golf courses, private schools, day care centers, health clubs, sports stadiums, and movie theaters.
Title 4 – Telecommunications: this title requires telephone and Internet companies to provide a nationwide system of interstate and intrastate telecommunications relay services that allows individuals with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate over the telephone.
Title 5 – Miscellaneous Provisions: this title contains a variety of provisions relating to the ADA as a whole. Examples are state immunity, attorney’s fees, and its impact on insurance providers and benefits. This title also provides a list of certain conditions that are not to be considered as disabilities.
Now that you know what the ADA is, take a minute to think about life without the ADA. Do automatic doors, elevators, curb cuts, ramps, accommodations in the workplace and accessible transportation help make communities more accessible and people independent? These are just a few examples of things supported by the ADA that everyone with or without disabilities benefit from every day.