The American Disabilities Act and You

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Recently while on Facebook (don’t judge me), I was pursuing a disability group and saw postings about the American Disabilities Act and how to file a complaint. As an innately curious person, and with family members (including myself) diagnosed with Asperger’s, I decided to look up the ADA to find out exactly what it addresses and doesn’t address.

Well, the American Disabilities Act came into effect in 1990. What did it do?

According to the ADA website, this law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, granting them the right of employment, purchasing “goods and services, and participating in State and local government programs and government services. The Act, modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that receive federal financial assistance.

However, the ADA was amended in 2009 as it did not include all people with disabilities, specifically those with:

1. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

2. Having a record of either a mental or physical impairment.

3. Being regarded as having a mental or physical impairment.”

On the other hand

It is essential to understand that the ADA only protects a person with a disability who is qualified for the job and meets job-related requirements, such as – education, training, or skills, and the ability to perform the job’s essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation.

These requirements only apply only to private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions.

It Gets More Complicated – Introducing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing federal ADA laws and has expanded the scope of a disability to include:

1. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (like sitting, standing, or sleeping).

2. People who are deaf, people who are blind, or people who use wheelchairs.

3. People with physical conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, HIV infection, severe forms of arthritis, hypertension, or carpal tunnel syndrome may be individuals with disabilities.

4. People with mental impairments such as major depression, bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder, and mental retardation may also be covered.

Filing a Complaint

The ADA suggests that you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if you feel that you have been discriminated against due to your disability and file a report within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. On the other hand, it might be useful to consult an attorney familiar with disability claims and violations before you file a proceed, to be on the safe side.

Additional Resources

A quick overview of the ADA read “The Americans with Disabilities Act: A Brief Overview.”

ADA Information Services


Who is protected by the ADA?

#ADA #AmericanDisabilitiesAct

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