The Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in
employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial
facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. The ADA has four main
titles: Title I (employment), Title II (state and local government agencies
and public transportation), Title III (public accommodations), and Title IV
(telecommunications). The following are some important facts from Title I
(employment) of the ADA as well as from the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (1997).
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private
employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor
unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with
disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement,
compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions and privileges
An individual with a disability is a person who has a record of or
is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially
limits one or more major life activity.
A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual
who, with or without reasonable accommodations, can perform the
essential functions of the job.
An employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations for
employees with disabilities. Such accommodations may include, but are not limited to making
existing facilities used by employees readily accessible, job
restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant
position, acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or
modifying examinations, training materials or policies, and providing
qualified readers or interpreters.
An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards
to make an accommodation, nor is an employer obligated to provide
personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.
Employers cannot ask medical or disability-related questions on
a job application/interview (U.S. Department of Labor, 2003). The exception is that a government agency can ask an applicant to
voluntarily disclose a disability for affirmative action purposes (U.S.
Department of Labor, 2003).
Disclosure of disability is critical IF
accommodations, such as access to the building, are necessary to do the
job (U.S. Department of Labor, 2003).
There are tax deductions available for employers of persons with
disabilities. For more information see:
apply to all employers with 15 or more employees and are intended to
protect people with disabilities from potential discrimination by
employers and provide them with work opportunities when qualified. These
laws do not require employers to hire people with disabilities, nor do
they require employers to change the nature of their work to accommodate
people with disabilities.