Your Rights Under the Americans With Disabilities Act

A record of a current of former mental or physical impairment that substantially limits your major life activities qualifies you for USA disability services under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA became law in 1990 and it protects your access to telecommunications, transportation, public accommodations, and services from your state and local government. Here are some of the most significant ways that the ADA applies.

Accessibility and Inclusion; The ADA applies primarily to public entities that provide activities, services, and programs. Such entities must make efforts to include people with disabilities to the extent possible. This may involve reasonable modifications to procedures, practices and policies, such as auxiliary aids for those with communication or vision impairments. Examples of auxiliary communication aids include braille or large-print materials, television captioning, qualified interpreters, or other assistive devices. Inclusion also means not having separate areas for people with disabilities but providing programs, services, and activities in the most integrated settings possible. This may mean modifying the building, whether permanently or temporarily, to allow access.

Reasonable Accommodations; Having a disability need not necessarily prevent you from working. The ADA not only prohibits public and private employers from discrimination in employment practices on the basis of a disability, but it also requires them to provide reasonable accommodations to allow you to perform your job. Examples of reasonable accommodations include workplace updates for accessibility, modified work schedules, adjusted training materials or policies, and assistive equipment or devices.

The only situation in which an employer is not required to provide reasonable accommodations for a disabled employee is if it would impose an undue hardship. In other words, if the accommodation would be prohibitively expensive or unreasonably difficult to accomplish, an exception in the employer’s favor may be made. However, the employer would have to provide specific evidence of undue hardship.

If you feel your rights under the ADA have been violated, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, specifically the Office of Civil Rights.