ADA Basics

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law whose purpose is to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in employment, in programs and activities offered by state and local governments, and in accessing goods and services.

Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination in employment and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

  • Only "covered entities" are required to comply with Title I. Covered entities includes employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor-management committees. Of course, it makes good business to avoid discrimination, whatever the size or type of your business.
  • Title I protects "qualified employees with disabilities." The term qualified means that the individual satisfies the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position sought or held, and can perform the primary job tasks of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • The term with disabilities means: (1) individuals with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) individuals with a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, and (3) individuals who are regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  • The term employee means "an individual employed by an employer." The issue of whether an employer-employee relationship exists is specific to the facts and depends on whether the employer controls the means and manner in which the worker performs the work.

The ADA National Network consists of 10 regional centers that provide information, training, and guidance for employers and individuals with disabilities. For questions about the ADA, reasonable accommodations, etc., contact the network toll-free at 1-800-949-4232 (voice and TTY), or via e-mail by visiting adata.org/content/email-us

Ask JAN – The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is an online resource providing free technical assistance for businesses and employees. You can “Ask JAN” about ADA and accommodation-related issues via live chat at askjan.org, e-mail at jan@askjan.org, or phone (800) 536-7234 (V); (800) 781-9403 (TTY)