The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and opens doors for full participation in all aspects of everyday life. The ADA was signed into law in 1990. It gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities similar to rights on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, state and local government/ transportation services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles:
Title One: Employment
Business must provide reasonable accommodations to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment. Possible changes may include restructuring jobs, altering the layout of workstations, or modifying equipment. Employment aspects may include the application process, hiring, wages, benefits and all other aspects of the employment. Medical examinations are highly regulated.
Title Two: Public Services
Public services, which include state and local government instrumentalities, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and other commuter authorities, cannot deny services to people with disabilities participation in programs or activities which are available to people without disabilities. In addition, public transportation systems, such as public transit buses, must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Title Three: Public Accommodations
All new construction and modifications must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. For existing facilities, barriers to services must be removed if readily achievable. Public accommodations include facilities such as restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, retail stores, etc., as well as privately owned transportation systems.
Title Four: Telecommunications
Telecommunication companies offering telephone service to the general public must have telephone relay service to individuals who use telecommunication devices for the Deaf (TTYs) or similar devices.
Title Five: Miscellaneous
Includes a provision prohibiting either a) coercing or threatening or b) retaliating against the disabled or those attempting to aid people with disabilities in asserting their rights under the ADA.