American Disability Act Provides Equal Opportunities For the Disabled!

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was enacted into law on July 26, 1990. The primary purpose of this enactment was to preclude discrimination based on disablement. It is on the lines of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which made provisions for sheltering people from discriminations based on race, national origin, religion or sex of individuals. However, since the Civil Rights Act did not cover the discrimination based on disability, the ADA now covers this important aspect of civil rights of the American people.

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides equal opportunities for the disabled in all spheres of employment, public accommodation, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunication relay services.

It is an important and meaningful legislation that gives federal protection to people with disabilities and seeks to ensure that they are also provided effective, meaningful and equal opportunities of participation in the society.

The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual. The same description is also a part of the disability defining sections of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act Amendments and the Air Carrier Access Act as well.

The ADA delineates that the employers may not single out and discriminate against individuals with disabilities in hiring or promotion when the persons are otherwise qualified for the jobs. Employers can of course inquire from prospective employees about their ability to perform a job; but an employer is prohibited from inquiring whether someone has a disability or subject a person to tests that screen out or even tend to screen out people with disabilities.

The ADA also provides that employers need to provide reasonable and fair accommodation to individuals with disabilities, if needed. Accommodation here means working areas and space that is conducive and barrier free for performing one's employment despite one's disablement. This includes steps such as alterations to equipment and reconstituting or restructuring the job, if necessary. However, the ADA does not enforce undue and unreasonable hardships on the business enterprises of America. The employers need not provide accommodations that impose undue difficulties and strains on business operations.