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Written by Edward Lai

Americans with Disabilities Act Overview – Part 1

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted by Congress in 1990, and it was amended in 2008 by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). This amendment made several significant revisions to the definition of a disability. A civil rights law, the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in certain areas of public life. The law ensures that the disabled have equal rights and opportunities in the United States. The Act is composed of five titles (sections), each pertinent to an area of public life. Part 1 will discuss Titles I and II.

Title I – Employment

The first title is intended to ensure that the disabled have the same access to employment opportunities and benefits as those who are not disabled. Reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees with disabilities must be provided by employers, enabling them to apply for work or perform job functions.

Regulation and enforcement is overseen by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Companies that have 15 or more employees are required to comply with this law. Title I provides definitions for disability, guidelines for reasonable accommodations, regulations for medical examinations and inquiries, and the definition of “direct threat”, situations permitting an employer to fire an employee or refuse to hire an applicant who poses a significant safety risk based on his or her disability.

Title II – Public Entities and Public Transportation

According to Title II, public services, including state and local government agencies, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and other commuter authorities, cannot deny services to individuals with disabilities or deny participation in programs or activities that are available to those without disabilities. Moreover, public transportation systems have to provide access to people with disabilities. Title II extends coverage to all public entities that provide public transportation, even those that do not receive financial assistance from the federal government.

Regulated by the U.S. Department of Justice, Title II also provides requirements for administrative processes, making reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination, the identification of architectural barriers, and ensuring effective communication with individuals who have vision, hearing, and speech disabilities.

Professional and Experienced Legal Assistance

The Law Office of Edward Lai can assist you with questions regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and other legal matters. If you would like to have a consultation, please contact their office through this website or call (510) 397-8287.

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