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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

To combat discrimination against people with disabilities, the federal government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities. Most notably, the ADA guarantees disabled persons equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations, transportation, and housing.

Employment under the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits both private and public employers from discriminating against a person with a disability in any aspect of employment, including (but not limited to):

  • Applications
  • Interviews
  • Testing
  • Hiring
  • Job assignments
  • Evaluations
  • Firing and Promotions

The ADA also prohibits employers from discriminating against someone because that person is related to or associated with someone with a disability.

Public Accommodations under the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that any entity that is open to the public must be accessible to people with disabilities. Public accommodations subject to ADA requirements are: (but not limited to)

  • Restaurants
  • Sidewalks
  • Stores
  • Restrooms
  • Office buildings
  • Movie theaters

Making a public entity handicap accessible means the addition of wheelchair ramps, handrails, handicap parking, and any other arrangements, which account for disabled accessibility.

Transportation under the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) strives to provide the disabled with reliable and convenient transportation services that are sensitive to their needs. Consequently, the ADA has codified into law numerous rules and regulations through the Department of Transportation (DOT) that seek to enhance transportation services for the disabled. These rules mandate that all public transportation services:

  • Be made handicap accessible through accommodations such as ramps, handicap seating spaces, and any other necessary arrangements
  • Not impose special charges for disabled travelers
  • Not require disabled travelers to have personal attendants travel with them
  • Not harass or humiliate disabled travelers in any way that may discourage their future use of public transportation services

Housing under the ADA

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), discrimination in housing on the basis of disability is strictly prohibited. Through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), several federal laws have been passed to enforce the ADA's prohibitions.

  • Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, and disability.
  • Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs, services, and activities provided or made available by public entities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enforces Title II when it relates to state and local public housing, housing assistance and housing referrals.
  • The Architectural Barriers Act requires that buildings and facilities designed, constructed, altered, or leased with certain federal funds after September 1969 must be accessible to and useable by handicapped persons.

Do I Need an Attorney Specializing in Disability Discrimination?

Individuals who feel that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability should consult with a civil rights attorney. Disabled individuals today are afforded many protections under the ADA that guarantee them equality of treatment in all spheres of society. Speaking with the proper disabilities lawyer will inform you of your legal rights as well as preserve any possible remedies you may have. For more information regarding Social Security and disability benefits visit

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Photo of page author John Kirby

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 10-02-2017 09:04 AM PDT

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