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Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the private sector and state and local governments.

Article by Sue Campbell Jones, 1st-Writer.com / See additional links
(Back to Equal Employment Opportunity Regulations)

Signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, the ADA provides a wide range of civil rights protection for individuals with disabilities. Titles I and V prohibit discrimination in employment against qualified candidates who are disabled (covering both mental and physical impairments that limit major life activities), but who are otherwise qualified for employment.

"Qualified individuals with disabilities" under this act include any individual, applicant or employee with a disability who satisfies the skills, experience, education or other job-related requirements necessary for the position held or desired, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job. The word "essential" is important here, as this assures that a candidate or employee with a disability will not be considered "unqualified" simply because of an inability to perform incidental job duties that are not essential to the job.

An individual with a disability under the ADA is any person who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Major life activities encompass those that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty, such as seeing, hearing, breathing, walking, speaking, learning, and working. Physical impairments can include physiological disorders or conditions, cosmetic disfigurements, or an anatomical loss. Mental impairments can include learning disabilities, mental or emotional illness, developmental disabilities, and mental retardation, among others.

The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, training, compensation, advancement, and any other terms, conditions or privileges of employment. The ADA does not require preferential treatment of individuals with disabilities, as employers are free to select the most qualified applicant for the position, but it does prohibit discrimination based solely on a candidate's real or perceived disability. See EEOC's "Facts - Job Applicants and the Americans with Disabilities Act" and JAN's "Employer's Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)."

Updates: On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADA Amendments Act" or "Act"). The Act makes important changes to the definition of the term "disability" by rejecting the holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA regulations. See more.

Entities covered under this act include employment agencies, labor organizations, join labor-management committees, , and any employer engage in interstate commerce and having 15 or more employees.

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This page last updated: 01/13/2014