This year marks the 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On this day in 1990, the ADA was signed into law in order to protect individuals with disabilities in many areas of life including jobs, schools, public or private locations, or transportation.
In recognition of this day, Henson Fuerst shares with its readers the five sections (“titles”) of the ADA and their importance in protecting the rights of the disabled in various aspects of life.
Title I – Employment
Title I of the ADA, which is regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice, affords individuals with disabilities the same employment opportunities and benefits as those without disabilities, as long as the employer in question has at least 15 employees.
The employer must provide “reasonable accommodations” to those applicants with disabilities who are otherwise qualified. A “reasonable accommodation” is one that enables the employee to do their job without any “undue hardship” to the employer. In other words, an employer cannot refuse someone employment for a position that they are otherwise qualified for, because they have a disability. Nor can they terminate an employee for that same reason.
Title II – Public Services: State and Local Government
Title II of the ADA, which is also regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in regards to public entities, including state and local agencies. It requires that these agencies or entities offer services, activities, policies, procedures, and programs that are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Title III – Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities
Title III of the ADA focuses on the rights of individuals with disabilities in public places, regardless of whether they are privately owned (e.g. restaurants, movie theaters, and sports stadiums). It defines the minimum standards required for any new construction and provides that existing public places must remove barriers wherever necessary. These public places are obligated to make “reasonable accommodations” for customers with disabilities, so long as they do not create undue hardship for the owner.
Title IV – Telecommunications
The Federal Trade Commission regulates Title IV, which requires that telephone and internet service companies offer services that allow individuals with speech or hearing impairments to communicate. One example of such a service is closed captioning of federally funded public service announcements on TV.
Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions
Title V of the ADA includes other provisions focused on the ADA as a whole, such as its relationship to state laws, insurance benefits, and retaliation, to name a few. It also provides a list of conditions not considered to be a disability for purposes of this Act.
Our disabilities should not determine our rights. When a business does not comply with the rules of the ADA, an individual with a disability who is involved may have a case. It can be difficult to prove a disability case, which is why it’s helpful to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable disability attorney.
At Henson Fuerst, we are proud to work with individuals with disabilities and will fight to protect their rights. If you have questions about a disability claim, call Henson Fuerst at 919-781-1107. We’ll answer any questions you have and help get you any SSD benefits to which you may be entitled.