The American Disabilities Act

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) legalizes new and detailed civil rights for the protection of individuals with disabilities. This legislation prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in the spheres of private employment, local government agencies and state government agencies. This prohibition of discrimination extends to public places like restaurants, theaters, libraries, museums, airports, railway stations, bus terminals, etc. The disabled individuals also have the right to mandate access to communication services.

Keeping in mind the growing popularity and utility of internet, a law suit was filed lately to cover the internet within the ambit of public facilities and thereby cover it under the American Disabilities Act. Telecommunication is already within the scope of this Act.

A person who has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits his life's major activity or activities is considered a person with disability and is protected by this law.

The American Disabilities Act came into force when President George Bush signed it on 26th July 1990. The act gave hope of leading an independent and productive life to over 40 million disabled American at the time of its promulgation and the numbers have only increased since. It is shaped in the fashion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title-I of the ADA deals with Employment Issues. Any government or private body employing more than 15 persons has to provide equal employment related opportunities for disabled but otherwise qualified individuals. The US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) enforces Title-I of this Act. It also provides information on related matters to any interested individual or institution.

Title-II of the ADA deals with State and Local Government activities and Public Transportation. It provides for mandatory availability of their varied services in such a way that disabled people can also avail them. The Federal Transit Administration deals with these matters.

Title-III of the ADA extends the conditions of accessibility to disabled individuals to all public accommodations. The US Department of Justice deals with these matters.