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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

What does ADA stand for?

ADA is an acronym that stands for Americans with Disabilities Act.


What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act, more commonly referred to by its acronym – ADA, is a civil rights act passed on July 26th, 1990. The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people who have disabilities, similar to the way that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against people based on their sex, race, color, national origin, or religion. The ADA passed to ensure disabled people had the same rights as every other person by granting equal opportunity to accommodations, employment, government programs and services, and telecommunications. 


There are five titles within the Americans with Disabilities Act. The titles are as follows:

    • Title I (Employment): This title requires employers to accommodate disabled applicants or employees. Additionally, this title prohibits discriminating against disabled applicants or employees. 

    • Title II (Public Services): This title prohibits public facilities from denying their activities, programs, or services to disabled people. This title also ensures that people with disabilities have the opportunity to engage in the same activities that people without disabilities engage in. 

    • Title III (Public Accommodations): This title requires stores, theaters, hotels, restaurants, doctor’s offices, private schools, and similar facilities are accessible to all disabled people. This title also requires facilities to remove any potential barriers to people with disabilities. In addition, this title enforces effective communication with disabled people, whether their disability is related to hearing, speech, or vision. 

    • Title IV (Telecommunications): This title requires internet and telecommunication companies to offer their services to people with hearing or speech disabilities. 

    • Title V (Miscellaneous): This title discusses immunity, drug use, and the act’s relation to the laws. This title also forbids manipulating, threatening, or harming disabled people or those trying to help disabled people. 


Who does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect?

The ADA protects individuals with disabilities. The ADA defines a person with a disability if they are considered to have the disability, if they have records of the disability, or if they have any limiting mental or physical impairment. There are many federal agencies that either enforce or investigate claims regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act. These federal agencies include:


    • Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 

    • Department of Education

    • Department of Health and Human Services

    • Department of Justice

    • Department of Labor

    • Department of Transportation

    • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    • Federal Communications Commission


Each of these federal agencies works to enforce or investigate different parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Title I and the Department of Justice enforces Title II and Title III. In contrast, the Federal Communication Commission enforces Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the Americans with Disabilities Act states the civil rights granted to disabled people, the federal agencies enforce these rights. 


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