What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act? There’s a lot we can say about it, but this article will keep things brief and high level. We’ll talk about three main things: what the act is, who enforces it, and what it means to you. 

What is the American Disabilities Act?

Often referred to as ADA, the American Disabilities Act was put in place to help protect the rights of people with disabilities. These protections fall under several areas:

  • Jobs
  • Transportation
  • Communications
  • Public Accommodations
  • Access to state and local government programs and services

The act is divided into five titles, and each of the five titles is enforced by a different agency.

Who Enforces the American Disabilities Act?

Title I refers to employment, and thus is protected by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As you would expect, the purpose of this title is to prevent employers from discriminating against someone just because they have a disability. Part of this comes into play with having employers restructure jobs or make changes to a job site to accommodate the person’s needs. 

Title II refers to state and local governments. An example of the type of protection involved is transportation systems such as bus or rail. The system must be able to accommodate for the needs of people with disabilities. It is enforced and regulated by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Title III is public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, bars, golf courses, movie theaters, etc. The idea is these places should have the facilities necessary to allow people with disabilities to access these sites. Like Title II, it is also regulated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Title IV refers to telecommunications. Telecommunications companies must be able to offer specific services to accommodate people with disabilities. For example, those with hearing or speech disabilities should still be able to communicate via telephone.  Title IV is regulated by the Federal Communication Commission. 

Title V is for miscellaneous provisions for the ADA as a whole.  

What Does the American Disabilities Act Mean for You?

The short answer is – it depends. 

Do you manage a restaurant? That falls under Title III, so it would be good to make sure your facility is accommodating to people with disabilities. The most common ones that people think of are wheelchair ramps and having big enough bathroom stalls that a wheelchair can fit. 

Did you have someone with disabilities apply for a job? If so, Title I may be more of what you’re interested in. Be aware that if they are the best candidate and you hire them, you may need to make changes to your job site or restructure the job to accommodate their needs. 

At a high level, the American with Disabilities Act isn’t too difficult to comprehend. However, as you get into the details of what qualifies as a disability and what rights people have, it gets more convoluted. If you need a defense for the ADA or have questions call us at 714.456.9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Courtesy of Cuselleration