at WOU Web-Based Training Materials
with Disabilities Act
Patrick Evans, CRC
Corporate Consultant, Washington State Department Social and Health
Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
should we be interested in the ADA?
with disabilities are the nationís largest minority and the only
one that any person can join at any time. Over 54 million people
(1 out of 5) in United States
have a disability. The number of individuals with a disability will
continue to increase for a variety of reasons, some of which include:
an increasing number of people surviving injury, trauma, illness;
the aging of the population in United
States; and the 12 million children
living in poverty, poor prenatal care, fetal alcohol syndrome, malnutrition.
Individuals with disabilities cross all racial, gender, educational,
socioeconomic, and organizational lines. Unlike race, ethnicity,
or gender, disability is a condition that can emerge suddenly, at
any time in life. It could happen to you or a loved one.
in 10 were disabled at birth or childhood
in 10 were disabled in their 20ís, 30ís or 40ís
in 10 were disabled later in life
with disabilities face discrimination in the community as well as
the workplace. This is due to societyís lack of exposure
to people with disabilities; medical labels and associated stereotypes;
perpetuation of negative images in media; and other attitudinal
barriers. This discrimination is especially evident when looking
at unemployment rates: for the general population, the figure is
approximately 4.5%, for working age individuals with disabilities,
the figure is 75%.
ADA was passed in
July, 1990 with overwhelming support in both houses of Congress
(91-6 Senate; 377-28 House of Representatives). The intent behind
the ADA is fourfold:
people with disabilities into the community and workplace.
focus from disabilities to abilities, assets and potential contribution
percentage of people with disabilities employment.
the independence of people with disabilities.
of the ADA
I - Employment: prohibits employers with
15 or more employees from discriminating in recruitment, hiring,
promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges
II - State & Local Government Activities and Public Transportation:
requires that State and local governments give people with disabilities
an equal opportunity to benefit from all of their programs, services,
and activities (e.g. public education, employment, transportation,
recreation, health care, social services, courts, voting, and town
meetings). In addition, public transportation authorities may not
discriminate against people with disabilities in the provision of
III - Public Accommodations: covers businesses and nonprofit
service providers that are public accommodations, privately operated
entities offering certain types of courses and examinations, privately
operated transportation, and commercial facilities. Public accommodations
are private entities who own, lease, lease to, or operate facilities
such as restaurants, retail stores, hotels, movie theaters, private
schools, convention centers, doctors' offices, homeless shelters,
transportation depots, zoos, funeral homes, day care centers, and
recreation facilities including sports stadiums and fitness clubs.
Transportation services provided by private entities are also covered
by title III.
IV - Telecommunications Relay Services: addresses telephone
and television access for people with hearing and speech disabilities.
It requires common carriers (telephone companies) to establish interstate
and intrastate telecommunications relay services (TRS) 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week.
V - Miscellaneous: covers a variety of other topics including: the exemption of Indian
Tribes; Illegal Abuse of Drugs; Federal Wilderness Areas; Prohibition
Against Retaliation & Coercion; Technical Assistance; Attorney
Fees & Other Remedies; and Certain conditions not covered.
ADA, Titles I and II in particular, addresses a variety of reasonable
accommodation obligations, which includes physical access, the
establishment of policy and procedures concerning requesting accommodations
and grievances, posting notification concerning your rights as
an individual with a disability, confidentiality of records (e.g.,
medical records must not be kept with personnel records), the
need to seek technical assistance to identify solutions to problems,
the requirement that the process for requesting and providing
accommodations is interactive, and that it be individualized.
of the ADA, or PL
101-336, can be found at http://www.ada.gov/pubs/ada.txt
. A variety of materials, regulations and updates on the ADA
can be found at http://www.ada.gov/
remainder of this document will focus on Title I of the ADA
which covers employment in businesses with 15 or more employees.
Under the ADA, an
employer is prohibited from discriminating against a qualified
individual with a disability who can perform the essential
functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.
Congress designed the law so that it would be balanced. It ensures
that the employer can maintain its business operations. It is
the employerís right to determine their operations and what requirements
are necessary to ensure that businessís success. At the same time,
it protects the individual with a disabling condition from discrimination.
through the following eight areas in sequence. Each section builds
on the information from the previous section to assist you in
understanding how the ADA impacts the entire employment process,
from the development of the job description and identifying the
essential functions of the job, inquiring about an individual's
ability to do a job, information that can be gleaned from medical
examinations before and after a position is offered, who is a
qualified individual with a disability, what are reasonable accommodations,
when does an accommodation become an undue hardship, and how is
direct threat defined, and how does it apply to the safety of
self and others.
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