What is the ADA?
President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 into law on July 26, 1990. It is the first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities. Congress amended the law in September 2008 to further clarify its definition of disability with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
The ADA protects the rights of over 54 million Americans with disabilities. It opens doors to participation in employment, state and local government programs, public accommodations, telecommunications, and transportation by prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities and their friends and family members.
Why is the ADA important?
Because disability is not dependent on race, creed, gender, religion, or age, anyone can potentially be impacted by the ADA.
Most importantly, the ADA is a federal statute enforceable by several federal agencies.
Who does the law affect?
- Americans with disabilities and their friends and families
- Private employers with 15 or more employees
- Businesses operating for the benefit of the public
- All state and local government agencies
- Public and private transportation providers
- Anyone building, designing, or remodeling construction projects
What the ADA is not:
- Affirmative action - The ADA provides for equal access and opportunity for individuals with disabilities, not special treatment or benefits.
- An entitlement program - The ADA is a civil rights law and does not provide money or benefits. There is no money available for individuals with disabilities through the National Network of ADA Centers. The ADA does not provide financial benefits like worker’s compensation or Social Security Insurance.
- A law that covers access to private residential housing - In general, the ADA does not cover private residential housing like condos, townhouses, mobile home units, and apartment units. The Fair Housing Act covers accessibility to private residential housing.